‘Turings Law’ takes effect to posthumously pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men

We were pleased to hear the Justice Secretary, Sam Gyimah, announce yesterday that thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted of sexual offences which have now been abolished (decriminalised) have been posthumously pardoned.

This pardoning has become known as ‘Turings Law’ after Alan Turing, a World-War Two code breaker often referred to as ‘the father of modern computing’. In 1952 Alan went on trial and was convicted after police learned of his sexual relationship with a young man.  He committed suicide in 1954 but in 2013 was pardoned for his ‘crime’.

The Policing and Crime Bill sets out in law pardons for those convicted of consensual same-sex relationships before the laws changed.

Crucially for people with convictions, the Act also applies to those still alive who have successfully applied through the Home Office disregard process to have historic offences removed, although we know that the numbers of people that apply through this process is very low and often acts as an unnecessary obstacle.

That said, the news yesterday will mean that people who successfully get their conviction ‘disregarded’ with also receive a pardon.

Note: The law does not apply to non-consensual sexual acts or those involving people under the age of consent.

For more information

  1. For more practical self-help informationRemoving historical convictions and cautions for consensual gay sex from criminal records
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.


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Debbie Sadler