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DBS Checks For Legal Roles


DBS Checks for legal roles play a vital part in ensuring that people entering the profession are suitable to do so.

In this blog we’ll explain everything you need to know about DBS Checks for legal roles, including who’s eligible and what sort of check they should have.

DBS Checks for Legal Roles: Who’s eligible for an Enhanced Check?

Enhanced DBS Checks are the highest level of DBS Check available.

An Enhanced Check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings the applicant has, as well as any relevant information held by the applicant’s local police force.

Some Enhanced Checks include a check of the children’s and/or adults’ barred list. To be eligible for a barred list check, the applicant must engage in regulated activity with children and/or adults.

To engage in regulated activity, a person must carry out, as part of their role, one or more of the specific activities listed in the government’s guidance for children or adults.

One example of these activities, pertinent to those in a legal role, is the ‘assistance in the conduct of a person’s own affairs’.

Or more specifically, as per governmental legislation:

Anyone who provides assistance in the conduct of an adult’s own affairs by virtue of:

  • Lasting power of attorney under the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Enduring power of attorney within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Being appointed as the adult’s deputy under the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Being an Independent Mental Health Advocate
  • Being an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate
  • Providing independent advocacy services under the National Health Service Act 2006 or National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006
  • Receiving payments on behalf of that person under the Social Security Administration Act 1992

Anyone who carries out one or more of these activities will be in regulated activity with adults, and will therefore be eligible for an Enhanced Check with a check of the adults’ barred list.

DBS Checks for Legal Roles: Who’s eligible for a Standard Check?

A Standard DBS Check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings the applicant has.

To be eligible for a Standard Check, the applicant’s role must be listed in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

The professions listed in this piece of legislation include:

  • Barristers (in England and Wales)
  • Solicitors
  • Registered foreign lawyer
  • Chartered Legal Executives or other Chartered Institute of Legal Executive (CILEx) authorised persons

Standard DBS Check applications can only be submitted for the above positions by or on behalf of the appropriate professional regulator and can only be submitted at the point of entry or qualification into the profession.

If an Enhanced level of DBS check is required, this could be obtained based on where the applicant is working and who they are giving legal advice to, for example, children. The level of check would be based on the type of legal advice given as well as any guardians being present and the frequency that this is being carried out.

If an applicant is carrying out a controlled function as part of an Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) role, they would be eligible for a Standard DBS Check under the ‘Other Workforce’ type.

DBS Checks for Legal Roles: Who’s eligible for a Basic Check?

If a person doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements for a Standard or Enhanced Check and will not be involved in any regulated activity in their role, they are eligible for a Basic DBS check.

There are no eligibility requirements for a Basic Check – anyone aged 16 or over can have one.

A Basic check will reveal any unspent convictions the applicant has, and is a great way to establish trust in a potential employee.

DBS Checks for Legal Roles: Conclusion

For applicants working in legal roles, the level of DBS Check they are eligible for will often vary based on the profession and the nature of the role.

Be sure to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. You can apply for a number of DBS Checks through our simple online platform – most checks are completed within 48 hours. Get started now.

Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.

The information contained in our blogs have been provided for information purposes only. This information does not constitute legal, professional, or commercial advice. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the content is up to date, useful and accurate, uCheck gives no guarantees, undertakings, or warranties in this regard, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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