Grounds for refusing bail

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Grounds for refusing bail
  • The right to bail
  • Exceptions to the right to bail
  • Imprisonable offences—grounds for refusing bail
  • Exception to bail in cases of domestic violence
  • Restrictions on the exceptions to bail for imprisonable offences
  • The substantial grounds test
  • Nature and seriousness of offence
  • Character, previous convictions, community ties
  • Strength of prosecution evidence
  • More...

Grounds for refusing bail

The right to bail

The Bail Act 1976 (BA 1976) gives a general right to bail to:

  1. any person appearing before a magistrates’ court, youth court or Crown Court

  2. any person who has been convicted of an offence but only if the court is adjourning the case for the preparation of pre-sentence reports, and

  3. any person appearing before the court for alleged breach of a community order requirement—the full list of community order requirements is set out in the Sentencing Code at sections 201 and Sch 9 of the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020). See Practice Note: Community order requirements.

The right does not apply to an accused who has been charged with (and previously convicted of) offences specified in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA 1994). These offences include murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, rape or attempted rape. Bail can only be granted in these cases if there are exceptional circumstances that justify it, eg in cases where the prosecution evidence is very weak or contradictory.

A defendant charged with murder (or murder and other offences) may not be granted bail except by a Crown Court judge.

Exceptions to the right to bail

The general right to bail can be overturned if any of the exceptions contained in BA 1976, Sch 1 are made out.

These exceptions vary depending on whether the offence is:

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