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Requirement to state nationality rescinded

Change to requirements

04 August 2020
Requirement to state nationality rescinded

Section 162 of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 introduced the requirement that individuals must provide their nationality if required to do so during court proceedings. It was left to the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee to decide at which point of criminal proceedings it would be necessary for this information to be provided. Part 3 of the rules currently states that the defendant should be asked to state their nationality at the first hearing. However, at its recent meeting the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee agreed that the collection of nationality information as presently required by the Rules does not comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, as it collects more data than is necessary to achieve the purpose of the legislation.

It was therefore agreed that the information is only necessary where a custodial sentence is imposed. Since custody escort staff already collect that information, there is no necessity for courts or court staff to collect it as well. The Rules will be amended as soon as possible so that the collection of information about nationality by escort staff would be taken to be at the direction of the court. 

In the meantime, the Justices' Clerks' Society has advised that legal advisers and court associates should cease to request nationality information forthwith. 

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