Pardons and disregards for homosexual offences

If you have a conviction or caution for a homosexual offence, that's no longer criminal, you can apply to have that conviction or caution removed from police and court records. This means the conviction or caution is 'disregarded'.

Disregards explained

Changes to the law mean that anyone who was convicted of, or cautioned for, certain offences which have since been abolished, can have their convictions disregarded.

These offences are buggery, gross indecency and procuring others to commit homosexual acts. The activity must have been consensual, with a person aged 17 or over and must not be an offence today. Sexual activity in a public toilet is not eligible, as it is still an offence. 

If you were convicted or cautioned for any of these offences, you may apply to have them disregarded.

A disregarded conviction or caution will be considered as never having happened. It won’t appear in criminal records checks and you don’t need to disclose it on application forms or in court cases.

Pardons 

There is no further action needed for a pardon. If your application to have a conviction or caution disregarded is successful you are also pardoned for the offence.  

Anyone who was convicted of an abolished homosexual offence involving consensual activity with a person over 17 and who has since died, is, by law, pardoned for the offence.  No action is required for a pardon in these circumstances.

How to apply

It is free to apply for a pardon or disregard. All applications are confidential.

Fill in the application form and send your completed form along with a proof of identity (such as a copy of a driving licence) and your address (such as a copy of a bank statement).

If you don't remember the specific details of the offence, give as much information as possible to help trace your records.

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