Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 64 - Bail

Project No. 64

Commenced: 1976
Completed: 1979

At the time of the reference the law governing the grant of bail was contained in 117 provisions of 14 different statutes and regulations. The diversity of legislation led to the undesirable situation where doubts about irregularities, omissions and ambiguities in the law existed. In addition, some practices, such as the imposition of a condition requiring a cash surety, were not authorised. As a consequence, decisions regarding bail were often taken on an ad hoc basis without adequate or comprehensive guidelines, and sometimes without sufficient relevant information about the defendant. In many cases excessive use was made of the requirement that a defendant find a surety as a condition of their release on bail. Failure to meet this condition had added significantly to the number of remand prisoners in Western Australian jails. There was also no clear procedure for either the defendant, or the prosecution, to appeal against decisions made relating to bail.

Terms of Reference

In 1976 the Commission was asked, as a matter of priority, to review the law and procedure relating to bail.


In 1982 Parliament passed the Bail Act 1982 (WA) which implemented the Commission’s primary recommendation for consolidation of bail provisions. In July 1986 the Government conducted a further review of the legislation which resulted in the implementation of the remaining recommendations by the Bail Amendment Act 1988 (WA).

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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