Bail – Fact Sheet

Final report—Key recommendations

  • All decision makers can determine bail for all offences, although remand by police officers must continue to be reviewed by a court or bail justice as soon as possible.
  • Written reasons for refusing or granting bail should be given to the accused and prosecution for every case—in the Magistrates’ Court this can be a tick-a-box form.
  • A new Act should refer to specific decision makers and their powers, rather than using the general term ‘court’.
  • Decision makers should consider victims’ safety and welfare in their bail decision.
  • Bail decision makers should consider the needs of Indigenous accused as members of the Indigenous community.
  • Police to establish and issue guidelines about the decision to arrest or summons.
  • Police be allowed to grant bail when courts are open, unless the person is already on bail.
  • Change the term surety to ‘bail guarantor’ and use ‘guaranteed amount’ to describe the money or assets that are put up to ensure the accused person attends court.
  • Courts be required to check a bail guarantor’s ability to pay the guaranteed amount. 
  • Improved processes for Registrar’s to check bail guarantor’s suitability.
  • Decision makers should set guaranteed amounts appropriate to guarantors’ ability to pay.
  • Guarantors should receive information and explanation about the process in a language they can understand.
  • Public drunkenness should be dealt with through sobering-up centres rather than jail.
  • More emergency housing is needed so people cannot be denied bail because they don’t have somewhere to live.
  • Support services should be offered to Indigenous Australians that acknowledge and respect their culture.
  • Decision makers should receive training in the best way to deal with Indigenous Australian, new migrants and people with mental illness or brain injury.
  • Children and young people should be recognised specifically in the Bail Act.
  • Police should develop a policy to issue a caution or summons to children rather than arrest them, unless they have good reason to.
  • There should be a court-based support program for children on bail.
  • Courts should be able to remand a young person to a Youth Justice Centre or Unit if it would be more suitable than adult jail.
  • Police should check if the person they arrest has children, and if so arrange care for them.
  • Support services for people on bail that address the problems that may have led to alleged offending should be well funded and should be used by police more often.
  • Victims of crime against the person should be told about bail hearing outcomes as soon as possible.
  • The Department of Justice should take control of the education and administration of bail justices.
  • Active bail justices should be reimbursed for their expenses and receive accreditation training.
  • The media should have access to bail justice hearings unless safety issues prevent it.
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