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NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2012
408 pages
The New South Wales (NSW) Law Reform Commission presents its recommendations for how a new Bail Act should be framed.
One chapter outlines the place of bail law in the NSW criminal justice system. It provides the framework for decisions by the police and the courts concerning the pretrial detention or release of a person. Principles underlying bail decisions are the protection and welfare of the community by preventing further serious offending; the protection of particular individuals who might be at risk; and protection of the integrity of the trial process by ensuring that the accused person appears at court for case processing. Another chapter reviews the history of bail law in NSW, followed by a chapter on trends in remand. The latter chapter notes that the number of people in pretrial detention in NSW has increased rapidly in the last 20 years, and it is significantly higher than in comparable Australian jurisdictions. The increasing rates of pretrial detention for juveniles and Indigenous people are of particular concern. The consequences of remand are discussed in one chapter, noting the cost for the families of detained individuals, the detainee's loss of employment, and the cost for the State. A chapter is devoted to the language and structure of the current Act, which the Commission deems to be unintelligible for both ordinary citizens and legal practitioners. The Commission recommends updating the terminology so that the bail law's provisions are clearly stated. Specific recommendations for wording are recommended. In recommending that there should be a presumption favoring release for all offenses, this report discusses considerations that should be taken into account when deciding whether a person should be released or detained. Other chapters recommend revisions of the bail law regarding conditions and conduct decisions and requirements. Appended information on the Commission's methodology, data, tables of cases and legislation, and a bibliography