Bail

The bail system in Victoria has an impact that reaches beyond the confines of the legislation and is a crucial element in the delivery of justice. For all this, the Bail Act 1977 had neither been reviewed nor updated since it came into operation in September 1977.  

In November 2004, the Commission was asked to review the practice and law of the Bail Act 1977 (Vic). This followed the Commission’s community law reform inquiry into failure to appear in court in response to bail. In November 2005, the Commission released a consultation paper, a targeted booklet for victims of crime, and a call for submissions. Forty-nine submissions were subsequently received. 

Tabled in Parliament on 10 October 2007, the Commission's final report made 157 recommendations aimed at ensuring the Act functions simply, clearly and fairly. Major recommendations included:

  • the Bail Act be rewritten in plain English
  • removing the requirement in relation to some offences that a person must convince the court that they should get bail and making the sole test for bail whether the person poses an unacceptable risk to the community
  • a requirement that bail conditions be no more onerous than necessary and reasonable and are realistic taking into account the circumstances of the individual
  • greater consideration of the victims of crime.

Implementation

Many of the Commission’s recommendations were implemented through amendments to the Bail Act 1977 made by the Bail Amendment Act 2010

The Explanatory Memoranda to the Bail Amendment Bill stated: "The Bail Amendment Bill 2010 (the Bill) amends the Bail Act 1977 and the Magistrates' Court Act 1989, and follows on from the Victorian Law Reform Commission's (VLRC) Review of the Bail Act: Final Report (2007)...The Government is responding to the VLRC recommendations in two stages. The Bill responds to 40 recommendations and represents the first stage of reforms to Victoria's bail system. Broadly, the aims of the Bill are to clarify aspects of current bail law, codify some existing practices, and promote efficiencies in the operation of the bail system. The Bill also establishes a new legislative framework for the operation of the bail justice system."

Timeline

Current: Table in parliament

Full timeline:

Reference
Consultation
Submissions
Final report
Tabled in parliament
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Project Publications

Bail Act: Final Report

The final report of the Commission's review of the Bail Act was launched in October 2007. The report makes 157 recommendations to ensure the Act...

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Bail Act: Final Report Summary

This summary provides a concise, plain English overview of the Commission's Review of the Bail Act: Final Report.  A PDF of the summary can be...

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Bail - Recommendations

In its 2007 report reviewing the Bail Act 1977, the Commission made 157 recommendations, as set out below:   1. The Bail Act 1977 should be repealed...

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Bail Act: Consultation Paper

After initial research, in November 2005, the Commission produced a consultation paper identifying issues of inquiry and asking for submissions.  The...

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Review of the Bail Act: Terms of Reference

In November 2004, the Attorney-General asked the Commission to review the Bail Act 1977 under the following terms of reference: To review the...

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Timeline

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