Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 80 - Problem of old convictions

Project No. 80

Commenced: 1982
Completed: 1986

The reference was prompted by various difficulties faced by people with a record of criminal convictions. In Western Australia any act or omission which under state law renders the person doing the act or making the omission liable to punishment is called an offence. A record of the offence could be held in a number of places from the relevant court records to individual police departments. Because of the potential of unwarranted disclosure of criminal records, ex-offenders faced a variety of problems associated with their past convictions even where they may have long since ceased to offend and may regard themselves as law-abiding members of the community.

Terms of Reference

In April 1982 the Commission was asked, as a matter of priority, to examine and report on whether a person’s criminal record should be erased after a stipulated time, and, if so, in what circumstances and under what conditions.


In 1988, Parliament passed the Spent Convictions Act 1988 (WA) which substantially implemented the Commission’s recommendations. The Acts Amendment (Spent Convictions) Act 1989 (WA) implemented the majority of the remaining recommendations.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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