Guideline 6 – bail applications in the Magistrates’, County and Supreme courts

Guideline 6 – bail applications in the Magistrates’, County and Supreme courts

Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) may make a grant of legal assistance to a person who wants to apply to the Magistrates’ Court, the County Court or to the Supreme Court for bail if there is a ‘realistic prospect of bail being granted’ and, either:

  • the prosecution actively opposes the person’s application for bail
  • the person has to show cause why bail should be granted.

‘Realistic prospect of bail being granted’ means that a careful and experienced lawyer would consider it likely that a magistrate or a judge could grant bail.

The lawyer must take all the evidence and circumstances of the case into account and the chance of bail being granted must be real and not fanciful. This requires much more than an arguable case.

If counsel appears and the matter proceeds as a plea

If counsel appears and considers that the best interests of the person seeking bail would be to enter a plea rather than to proceed with the bail application, then VLA will grant legal assistance for counsel’s appearance at the plea instead of for the bail application.

Bail variations

VLA may grant legal assistance to a person to either:

  • apply to vary the conditions of bail
  • respond to an application by the Office of Corrections to vary the conditions of bail.

Applications for variation are not within VLA's guidelines and must be submitted via the standard grants assessment process.

Documentary requirements

With the exception of bail variations, applications under this guideline are within the simplified grants assessment process. An application for bail variation may only be made via the standard grants assessment process.

Standard grants assessment process

Lawyers seeking a grant of legal assistance via the standard grants assessment process should submit an application via ATLAS for assessment, including all of the following documents:

  • copies of the charge or charges
  • the grounds they will rely on to support their application
  • the lawyer’s assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the application
  • full details of the person's prior convictions (if any)
  • relevant proof of means (if a waiver does not apply).

Simplified grants assessment process

Lawyers seeking a grant of legal assistance via the simplified grants assessment process should submit an application via ATLAS, only after ensuring that the following documents are retained on file unless they are requested by VLA for assessment:

  • a reference to guideline 6
  • copies of the charge or charges
  • the grounds they will rely on to support their application
  • the lawyer’s assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the application
  • relevant proof of means (if a waiver does not apply).

Lawyers are also encouraged to complete a bail worksheet and a proof of means worksheet for their file.