Challenging a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO)

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders (SHPOs) are court-imposed measures designed to protect the public from individuals convicted of sexual offences. While they serve an important purpose, there are situations where challenging the imposition of an SHPO may be necessary. This article aims to provide information on the process of challenging an SHPO, your rights, and the potential outcomes.

Understanding SHPOs

A Sexual Harm Prevention Order is a legal order issued by the court following a conviction for a relevant sexual offence. It imposes restrictions and conditions on the individual, such as limitations on contact with children or internet usage, with the aim of preventing further harm to potential victims. SHPOs are serious and can significantly impact a person’s life, requiring compliance and regular monitoring.

Violating a Sexual Harm Prevention Order can result in severe consequences, including criminal charges and further restrictions on personal freedoms. The primary goal of these orders is to prioritize public safety and protect vulnerable individuals from potential harm.

Grounds for Challenging an SHPO

If you believe that the imposition of an SHPO in your case was unjust or disproportionate, you have the right to challenge it. Common grounds for challenging an SHPO include:

  1. Necessity and Proportionality: Arguing that the circumstances of your case do not meet the high threshold required for the imposition of an SHPO. Factors such as the time elapsed since the offence, your age at the time, and assessments of risk can be crucial in determining whether the order is truly necessary and proportionate.

  2. Judicial Error: Identifying any errors made by the judge during the sentencing process, such as misinterpreting the evidence or applying the wrong legal principles. These errors can form the basis for an appeal against the imposition of an SHPO.

  3. Legal Representation: Seeking advice and representation from a specialist solicitor or barrister with expertise in sexual offence cases. They can assess the merits of your case, gather relevant evidence, and present strong arguments on your behalf.


The Process of Challenging an SHPO

Seeking Legal Advice

Consult an experienced solicitor or barrister who specialises in sexual offence cases. They will review your case, assess the grounds for challenging the SHPO, and guide you through the process.


Preparing Grounds of Appeal

Working closely with your legal representative, gather relevant information, including assessments of risk, character references, and any other evidence that supports your case. These grounds of appeal will form the basis of your challenge.




Filing an Appeal

Submit the grounds of appeal to the appropriate court, seeking permission to challenge the SHPO. A Single Judge will review your application and decide whether to grant leave to appeal.


Court Hearing

If leave to appeal is granted, the case will be listed for a hearing before the Court of Appeal. Your legal representative will present arguments based on the grounds of appeal, highlighting any errors or disproportional aspects of the original SHPO.


Potential Outcomes

Upon reviewing the case, the Court of Appeal may:

  • Uphold the SHPO: If the court determines that the imposition of the SHPO was justified and proportionate, it will affirm the order, and you will remain subject to its conditions.

  • Quash the SHPO: If the court finds that the SHPO was unjust or disproportionate, it will overturn the order, relieving you from its restrictions and requirements.

Challenging a Sexual Harm Prevention Order is a complex legal process that requires careful consideration and expert guidance. If you believe that an SHPO has been unjustly imposed in your case, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a specialist solicitor or barrister who can help you navigate the legal system and present a strong case on your behalf. Remember, everyone has the right to a fair and proportionate legal process, and challenging an SHPO is a fundamental aspect of exercising that right.