Bail and remand


Bail allows for a person, who has been charged with a criminal offence, to be released from custody. The accused is released on the undertaking that he or she will appear in court at a later date. Police or a bail judge can grant bail, but they can also oppose it. The purpose of bail is, primarily, that by guaranteeing the accused’s freedom until trial, it upholds the presumption of the accused’s innocence. Practically, it also allows the accused a better chance to prepare a case with his or her lawyer.

Conditions of bail

Certain conditions can be attached to bail. For instance, the accused may only receive bail if there is a surety. Surety refers to a person who promises to pay the court in money or assets, should the accused fail to appear in court.1 It is a way of ensuring the accused’s attendance. Other conditions may be attached to bail. The accused may have to surrender his or her passport, or agree to refrain from interfering with witnesses.

Refusal of bail

Police or bail justices may refuse bail if they suspect that the accused:

  • will not appear in court
  • is a likely danger to the community
  • is likely to interfere with witnesses
  • has been charged with a very serious offence, such as murder, treason, or trafficking illicit drugs


Remand refers to when bail is refused, and the accused is held in custody until the date of his or her trial. The main purposes of remand are to protect society from the accused, and to ensure the accused’s appearance in court.

See also:

Criminal pre-trial procedures

Committal hearings

Purposes of criminal pre-trial procedures

  1. Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, “Custody and Bail”,