Failing to surrender, absconding and breach of bail conditions
Produced in partnership with Alistair Grainger of 25 Bedford Row

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Alistair Grainger of 25 Bedford Row provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Failing to surrender, absconding and breach of bail conditions
  • Bench warrants
  • Absconding
  • Breach of bail conditions
  • Procedure
  • The court’s approach to determining breach of bail conditions

Failing to surrender, absconding and breach of bail conditions

Bench warrants

The Bail Act 1976 (BA 1976) provides that if a defendant fails to appear at court to answer bail, the court may issue a warrant for their arrest. This is sometimes called a bench warrant.

A defendant who is granted bail by the court must comply with whatever procedure is prescribed by the court for answering their bail. For example, a court may operate a system that requires a defendant to report to the court usher on arrival.

If the defendant fails to comply with that procedure, a warrant may be issued with or without bail:

  1. if issued without bail, the defendant will be kept in police custody having been arrested until the next available court date, or

  2. if issued with bail, the defendant will be released on bail having been arrested with a duty to appear at court on the date and time specified in warrant—the court will only issue this type of warrant where there appears to be a good reason for the defendant’s absence, eg due to error

Instead of issuing a warrant, the court may decide to adjourn proceedings. The court will do this if it is satisfied that there is a good explanation for the defendant’s absence. The defendant will not be arrested but will receive in the post a bail notice

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