Bail in NSW
What is bail?
After a person has been charged with an offence and is awaiting their matter to be finalised in court, they may either be held in custody or released into the community on bail. If a person is ‘granted bail’, they are released into the community on the condition that they appear in court on a certain date, alongside certain other conditions (for example, reporting to police regularly). A person can also have their ‘bail dispensed with’, meaning that they may await their matter to be finalised in community and no bail conditions apply. If a person is ‘refused bail’ then the person is held in custody (known as ‘remand’) while they await court finalisation.
Who makes bail decisions?
Police, magistrates, judges and some court staff have authority to make bail decisions. Police often make bail decisions in the first instance, immediately after charge. If police determine that an accused person can await their court date in the community (i.e. grant bail or release without bail), that decision may continue without court review. The court may consider the persons bail if the person breaches a bail condition, if the prosecution makes a detention application, or if there is a request to vary the bail order. If police refuse bail, then the accused is held in custody, typically for a period of 24 hours or less, until they can be brought before a magistrate for their first court bail hearing. The magistrate then makes their own bail decision, either granting bail or continuing to remand the defendant in custody.
To find out more about the bail process and relevant terminology, or the BOCSAR Glossary
This page shows information about the bail process for people charged with a criminal offence proceeding through the NSW criminal courts. Charts 1 to 4 reflect bail at first court appearance. Charts 5 and 6 relate to bail breaches which have been established by the court.
1. Bail status at first court appearance
Below we present data looking a persons bail status at their first court appearance by age, Aboriginality, gender and region of residence.
2. Offence breakdown
The next chart shows a breakdown of bail status at first court appearance by bail decision and offence type. This data is split by age, gender and Aboriginality.
3. Bail conditions
If a person is ‘granted bail’, they are released into the community on the condition that they return to court on a certain date and notify the court if they change their address. Other conditions can also be set (for example, reporting to police regularly). A person can be subject to multiple bail conditions. The chart below shows the types of bail condition set by either the police or court by age, Aboriginality and gender.
4. Number of bail conditions
The next chart shows the number of bail conditions set by age, Aboriginality and gender.
5. Bail breaches
If an accused person contravenes with the requirements of the bail acknowledgement, their bail could be revoked. The failure to comply with the bail conditions imposed by the court is referred to as a 'breach of bail'. It is important to note that breach of bail is not of itself a criminal offence (unless the breach of bail condition otherwise constitutes a new criminal offence). The chart below shows the number of breaches of bail established in court by whether the accused person had their bail revoked or not by age, Aboriginality and gender.
6. Type of bail conditions breached
The next chart provides more insight into the types of bail conditions breached, i.e. whether the breach recorded was for committing a new offence or a technical breach, such as breaching curfew, failing to report etc. This data is split by age, gender and Aboriginality.
Note: In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the NSW and federal governments implemented various measures to minimise personal contact and contain the spread of the virus. The COVID-19 response also involved changes to the Criminal Justice System to minimise the risk of transmission. This should be considered when interpreting data for the last 24 months as this period may not represent the long term trends of the NSW Criminal Courts.