Failure to Appear in Court in Response to Bail

Project Status:

Tabled in parliament

Start Date:


Tabled in Parliament Date:



The Victorian Law Reform Commission’s first community law project, this review of certain sections of the  Bail Act 1977 (Vic) was prompted by an approach in 2001 by the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

The review considered the operation of section 4(2)(c) of the Bail Act, where a person who has been charged with an offence is released on bail but then fails to appear at the court hearing. In such circumstances the person is only entitled to further bail if they can show that the failure to appear was due to ‘causes beyond their control.’ This provision limited the decision-maker’s discretion and, in practice, unfairly affected disadvantaged groups, including Aboriginal people.

Our draft Recommendation Paper, published in 2002, sought responses to two options for reform. Of the 11 submissions, most supported the first option for reform, that section 4(2)(c) be repealed. This was recommended in the Commission’s final report on 7 June 2002.

Community Law Reform Projects are conducted in accordance with section 5(1)(b) of the Victorian Law Reform Commission Act 2000 (Vic), which empowers the Commission to initiate inquiries of general community concern, provided they are limited in size and scope. More about Community Law Reform can be found here.

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Project Stage

  • Terms of reference received
  • Submissions and consultations
  • Submissions closed
  • Final Report
  • Tabled in parliament


Publication Date


This Paper examines and makes a recommendation in relation to a relatively minor legal issue arising under the Bail Act 1977 which was brought to our attention by the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. The issue arises when a person who has been charged with a criminal offence is released on… Read more