Admissions guide for applicants who declare a criminal conviction

Index

1. Declaration of a criminal conviction
2. Spent convictions
3. Assessment of criminal record
4. Minor Convictions (no custodial sentence received)
5. Serious Convictions (custodial sentence received)
6. Applicants to courses in Westminster Law School
7. Information Security
8. Appeals against a decision

1.     Declaration of a criminal conviction

1.1    Applicants must declare any unspent convictions on application. If you are unsure whether a conviction is spent please consult the guidelines set out on the gov.uk website.

1.2    An applicant who has declared a criminal conviction on their UCAS form will be asked to provide further information on the nature of the crime(s) and any fine(s) or custodial sentence(s) received.  They will be asked to provide references and other documentation relevant to the conviction – e.g. a report from their probation officer and also the Certificate of Conviction or Finding.  

1.3    In cases where the applicant responds to state that they have ticked the criminal conviction box on the application form in error, the application will be processed normally.

2.     Spent convictions

2.1    When selecting applicants for admission, the University will not take into account criminal convictions which are deemed "spent" under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 unless such convictions are deemed as “exceptions” under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

2.2    Any conviction which is “spent” need not be declared unless students are applying for courses in Teaching, Health and Social Work programmes where there is one-to-one contact with children or vulnerable adults.

3.     Assessment of criminal record

3.1    For any unspent convictions, the applicant’s record will be reviewed by a panel comprised of three senior members of University staff.  This panel will normally make decisions on whether an application from an applicant with a criminal conviction should proceed to be considered for a place on an academic basis.  The panel may take further advice from the relevant Dean of Faculty or the Faculty Registrar.  Advice will always be sought in the case of applications for Law courses (see paragraph 6).  

3.2    The Panel may consider any or all of the following:

  • whether the criminal record or other matter revealed is relevant to the programme on offer (including any secondments or placements);
  • the seriousness of any offences;
  • the number of any offences;
  • whether the offences show a pattern of behaviour that seems to be recurrent and ongoing;
  • whether the offences involve violence or threats of violence;
  • whether the circumstances surrounding the offences were unique;
  • whether the applicant’s circumstances have now changed; and
  • what evidence the applicant produces to support the view that the applicant is unlikely to offend again.

3.3    In cases where there is a repetition of the offence or a number of convictions for different offences, the University may require documentary evidence that rehabilitation has taken place, e.g. that the applicant has lived in a community without re-offending for at least one year.

4.     Minor Convictions (no custodial sentence received)

4.1    Applicants with convictions considered to be minor (not carrying a custodial sentence) will be considered for entry according to the Admissions Regulations provided that the offence has not been so serious as to present a danger to others.  If admitted, they may be refused a place in University Halls of Residence.  

4.2    All cases of physical assault, violence or sexual offences will be reviewed by the panel and judged on the basis of whether the applicant would pose a risk to other students or staff.

5.     Serious Convictions (custodial sentence received)

5.1    Serious convictions are convictions resulting in a custodial sentence and convictions  for offences listed in the Home Office ‘List of Offences which will Never be Filtered from a Criminal Record Check.’  View the full list.

5.2    Applicants with an unspent serious conviction will be reviewed by the panel according to the Admissions Regulations.  Applicants with such convictions may be considered to present a danger to others.  If admitted, they will be refused a place in University Halls of Residence and are less likely to be offered a place on a course at the University.

5.3    Applicants who have a conviction and received a custodial sentence which is not included in this list of offences will be considered for entry according to the Admissions Regulations provided that the offence has not been so serious as to present a danger to others.  If admitted, they may be refused a place in University Halls of Residence.  

5.4    All cases of physical assault, violence or sexual offences will be reviewed by the panel and judged on the basis of whether the applicant would pose a risk to other students or staff.

6.     Applicants to courses in Westminster Law School

6.1    Students who complete a course in Law need to be aware that there may be restriction on their being able to practice law in the future as their criminal conviction may bar them from membership of the legal professional bodies. All branches of the profession are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which means that all convictions must be declared whether they are spent or not.

6.2    Applicants need to be informed of this so that they have all the relevant information when deciding which, if any, offers to accept and should be referred to the following resources for information and guidance:

6.3    Once an application from a prospective student has been received, they will be asked for the same information requested for other applicants with the inclusion of a statement about practising law in the future.

6.4    The application will then be considered by the panel and a recommendation forwarded to Westminster Law School for further consideration.

7.     Information Security

7.1    Except as detailed below, all information provided by an applicant/student relating to their criminal record will not be disclosed outside of the University. Exceptions to this  include where third parties are involved in the delivery of the relevant programme of study, or where disclosure is required by law or as a matter of public or national  security.

7.2    Information within the University relating to criminal records will be restricted to only those who are involved in any of the processes detailed above.

7.3    All information relating to criminal records will be kept securely.  It will be kept for the cycle in which they have applied plus one year.  For enrolled students the information will become part of the student record and be kept for the duration of their course plus one year.  Documents will be stored securely and separately from the student record.

8. Appeals against a decision

8.1    Applicants who are advised that they will not be offered a place, or who will be offered a place only under stringent conditions, may wish to appeal against the decision.  An appeal may be made on the grounds that University procedures have not been followed, or against the decision not to offer a place.

8.2    Appeals must be made in writing within 10 working days of receipt of the decision not to offer a place. Appeals should be made in writing to:

Director of Recruitment, Admissions and Marketing Services
University of Westminster
101 New Cavendish Street
London W1W 6UW

8.3    The Director or nominee will review the decision with relevant staff and/or a third party if it is deemed necessary, and reply in writing within 30 working days.

8.4    The decision of the Director shall be considered final.

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