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Applying for Supreme Court bail

Helping you understand and apply for bail

Being on bail means you are not in gaol as you wait for your case to come on. You can get bail from either:

  • the police when you are first arrested or
  • a magistrate in the Local Court or
  • a judge of the District Court or
  • a justice of the Supreme Court.

If bail is refused or granted with certain conditions that you can’t meet (by either a magistrate or a District Court judge), you can then apply to the Supreme Court for bail. Before you apply to the Supreme Court for bail there are some things you should know.

How many times can I apply for bail?

There are restrictions on the number of times you can apply for bail. Under the Bail Act you are allowed only one application for bail unless you can show new facts or circumstances have arisen since the previous application. However, you may apply for bail in the Supreme Court even if you have been refused in the Local Court.

If you are not fully prepared at the time your bail application is listed in the Supreme Court, it is wise to withdraw your application and re-apply when you are ready.

Who should I bring to court?

The judge will want to hear evidence from people who will support your bail application. These could include people you might live with or people who will put up money or property to secure your bail. When you know the date of your bail application, you should contact these people and ask them to be at the court to give evidence.

If you want to do residential rehabilitation while you are on bail, the main way you can be assessed for rehabilitation if you are in custody is by way of a request from a court.

When you first appear in the Supreme Court, you ask the Court to request a drug and alcohol assessment and then it is adjourned for 4–6 weeks for the assessment to be done. Then when your bail application is heard, there will be a letter before the Court from the centre, saying they have accepted you, and detailing the program. It helps if you have someone who can pick you up from gaol and take you directly to the centre.

Without this evidence, it is highly unlikely that you will be granted bail to attend a rehabilitation centre.

Will I stay in custody even if bail is granted?

You are not entitled to Supreme Court bail if you will be in custody for a longer period than the period for which you are seeking bail. This may be because:

  • your parole has been revoked or
  • you are serving a sentence.

What happens if I can’t meet my bail conditions?

If you have been granted bail in the Local or District Courts that you can’t meet, you should go back to the court that granted bail and try to have the conditions changed before you apply to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court judge could grant you the same bail as you were given before, change your conditions, or refuse your bail altogether. The Crown can ask for tougher conditions.

Do you want Legal Aid to represent you?

Legal aid is not automatically granted. There is a merit test, including the reasonable prospects of success in your bail application. When you put in your bail application to the Supreme Court, mark on the form if you want Legal Aid to represent you. Although you may not be granted aid, you will still be eligible to receive advice.

Can I get bail if I have appealed?

If you have been convicted or sentenced in the Local Court, you must lodge your appeal to the District Court before applying to the Supreme Court for bail.

You are able to make a bail application in the Local Court when you lodge your appeal. If you have appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal against your conviction and/or your sentence in the District or Supreme Courts, you can apply for bail in the Supreme Court. However, you will have to show that there are special circumstances before the court will hear your bail application. Special circumstances include that you will probably have served most of your sentence before your appeal is heard and/or that you are most likely to win your appeal. For this reason it’s best to have the merit of your appeal assessed before applying for Supreme Court bail. You will probably only be granted bail if there is some evidence that you are likely to win your appeal.

Getting there

The Supreme Court is located at Court No 1, King St., Supreme Court Building (near St. James or Martin Place railway stations).

For further information about bail in general, see the Legal Aid NSW brochure, A guide to bail. If you have any questions, see the Prisoners Legal Service when they visit the gaol, or ring the Supreme Court Bails Section of Legal Aid NSW on 9219 5001.

If you have any questions, see the Prisoners Legal Service when they visit the gaol, or ring the Supreme Court Bails Section of Legal Aid NSW on 9219 5001.

LawAccess NSW can also assist you. Ring 1300 888 529.

A print copy of this brochure may be Ordered online or call 02 9219 5028


May 2014