If you are detained in immigration detention, whether that is in an immigration detention centre, or in a prison, you can apply for bail. This blog looks mainly at the procedure for making a bail application and how that will be considered by the court. You can see our other blogs for details of best practice measures and tips.
Starting your application
When you apply for bail you use a form B1 and send it directly to the relevant tribunal. You can ask an officer where you are detained which the relevant tribunal is. When this document is sent to the tribunal they will arrange a bail hearing which should be listed within three working days. Practically, hearings are not usually listed within three working days. Once your bail application has been received by the tribunal, they will send a copy onto the Home Office on your behalf, the Home Office will then prepare a bail summary justifying their case for detention and setting out the conditions that the Home Office request if bail is granted. The bail summary should be submitted to the tribunal, to the applicant and to any representative by 2 PM the day before the hearing. If at the hearing you have not received this bail summary you should ask for a copy of it.
There is also now a procedure for auto-referrals. If a detainee has been detained for more than three months, then their case for detention must be considered by a ‘case progression panel’. They will then be issued a BAIL501 form which allows the detainee to opt-in or opt-out for an auto referral. The detainee opts in then they will need to complete a Form B1 which will be sent to the tribunal. If the detainee does not respond to the bail 501 form, then the case will be automatically listed without any further input from the detainee.
Many bail hearings are now conducted by video link. This is often the case for detention centres as they often have large numbers of detainees applying for bail at the same time.
During the Hearing
During the hearing, the judge will usually check that all parties have the relevant documents, including, the bail summary. The judge will also confirm key dates such as when the applicant entered immigration detention and any chronology provided in the bail summary. These chronologies are often incorrect, and it is worth checking this in detail before the hearing. If you have not been sent the bail summary in advance, then you should ask the judge for time to review the dates within the bail summary prior to the hearing of your application for bail.
The judge will hear submissions from both sides but is likely to ask questions of the applicant where they are unrepresented in order to determine the likelihood of absconding and any risk to the public. The judge will then consider whether it is appropriate to require that there are conditions to the applicant’s bail.
A financial condition might be appropriate if there is an absconding risk and involving another person may assist in managing this risk. There may also be an accommodation requirement, that is to reside in specific accommodation.
If a bail application is going to be on licence on release, then it is usually a requirement of the licence that they reside in probation approved premises. An applicant must obtain probation approval for any address they wish to reside at if they are on licence.