Bail Bill 2021 Consultation

The State Government is seeking submissions on the Bail Bill 2021.

During the 2018 election campaign, the State Government released the policy document “Keeping Tasmanians Safe”. This policy included a commitment to bail law reform. Tasmania’s Bail Act 1994 (the Bail Act) is largely procedural. The granting, or refusal, of bail within this state is decided largely on the basis of the common law. All other Australian states and jurisdictions have statutorily modified the common law on bail.

A Position Paper was developed and released on 1 January 2018 for public consultation. Material for the Position Paper was gathered from a number of sources, particularly the Victorian Law Reform Commission — Review of the Bail Act — Final Report; the New South Wales Law Reform Commission — Report 133 — Bail; and the Hon Paul Coghlan QC’s Bail Review: First Advice to the Victorian Government and Bail Review: Second Advice to the Victorian Government.

The Position Paper contained fifteen proposals for reform of bail in the State and were, generally, supported by key stakeholders. These proposals form the basis of the Bill.

The draft Bill seeks to be the primary and almost comprehensive reference on the law on bail in Tasmania. The Bill has incorporated much of the existing common law into statute and brings bail provisions from other legislation across states and jurisdictions to make the law around bail clearer and easier to navigate.

Some of the key features of the new Bill include:

  • A general purpose clause,
  • A reversal of the presumption for bail for specific offences and subject to specific criteria unless the accused can demonstrate “exceptional circumstances”,
  • A non-exhaustive list of relevant considerations that a grantor of bail is to take into account when assessing whether a person poses an “unacceptable risk” and therefore should not be granted bail,
  • Clarification of the powers and responsibilities of police in relation to bail,
  • A non-exhaustive list of conditions that might be imposed on an accused who is admitted to bail; and
  • A provision that the imposition of conditions must not be more onerous than necessary and must be reasonable, having regard to the nature of the alleged offence and circumstances of the accused person.

The necessary transitional and consequential provisions will be included in the Bill prior to finalisation.

Submissions on the Bill can be made until COB, Friday 19 March 2021 in one of the following ways using the subject line “Bail Bill 2021”:

  1. Online via our Public Consultation website,
  2. Via email at haveyoursay@justice.tas.gov.au; or
  3. Via post to: Department of Justice, Office of the Secretary, GPO Box 825, Hobart, TAS, 7001.

Please note that this consultation process is subject to the State Government’s ‘Publication of Submissions’. Received by State Government Departments in Response to Consultation on Major Policy Issues’ policy, which can be accessed through the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s website.

Under this policy, submissions will be made publicly available on the Department of Justice website unless, for instance, the submitting party requests that their submission remain confidential, or it contains material that is defamatory or offensive.

If you would like your submission to be treated as confidential, please indicate this in writing at the time of making your submission, including the reasons why.

Submissions that have not been marked as confidential and which meet publication guidelines will be published following consideration by the State Government.