Bail Act Update
New Bail Arrangements (Policing and Crime Act 2017) come into force on April 1st 2017 but are being rolled out earlier by some forces.
The aim of the new bail rules is to put fewer people on bail and for a shorter period. Clients are often left languishing on bail for months or even years before charge. The intention is to improve decision making and reduce distress and injustice for individuals placed on bail. Applies to Pre-Charge Bail only Presumption of no bail unless it is necessary and proportionate Bail needs to be authorised by an inspector or above 28 day maximum Extendable up to three months where authorised by a superintendent More than three months with judicial authorisation. A decision by a single justice of the peace on the papers will suffice. In exceptionally complex cases it will be possible to extend bail administratively to a total of six months before seeking judicial authorisation. Legal representatives must be informed and all representations must be considered. Bail Conditions can still be imposed CPS or Police must inform clients promptly in writing when a case is concluded. In summary you need to be aware that most clients will now not be bailed while an investigation continues. In effect where the police know a clients address they will simply ask them to attend a police station for charge or further interview rather than giving a specific bail date.Its worth noting that the police can arrest a client in order to charge them. But a further interview without new evidence would be problematic.
Where bail is granted, conditions may still be imposed, but they must be necessary and proportionate. If the conditions are breached clients can still be arrested, although the breach will not in itself be an offence.
The CPS and Police will have a duty of Notification of Decision. A failure on their part notify the client when a decision has been made to conclude the investigation and not to prosecute has led to distress and injustice. The existing statutory duty has been strengthened, and the notification must be made promptly and in writing. Cases will as ever not proceed if there is insufficient evidence and no realistic prospect of conviction and public interest must always be taken into account where appropriate.