Bail Support Service
Who is eligible for the Bail Support Service?
To be eligible for Legal Aid WA's Bail Support Service, the person must:
- have criminal charges listed in front of the Perth Central Law Courts or the Perth District Court
- be on bail, or be assessed as a potential candidate for bail, and
- consent to participate in the Service.
As the Bail Support Service is a voluntary service, the person must consent to participating, which includes consent to provide their statistical information to the Department of Justice for evaluation of the Bail Support Service, which is part of a pilot project. If the person has a lawyer acting for them, that lawyer must also consent to the Bail Support Service being involved.
Potential candidate for bail
There are lots of reasons people don’t get bail. The Bail Support Service can only assist people who either have bail, or would be a realistic candidate for bail if they had access to the right supports in the community to improve their ability to comply with their bail conditions (and reduce the risk of reoffending). A lawyer can advise a person if they are a realistic candidate for bail, and what things may need to be in place to improve those prospects.
If you don’t know where to start, contact the Bail Support Service or the Legal Aid WA Infoline on 1300 650 579.
What assistance does the Bail Support Service provide?
The Bail Support Service does not provide legal advice or any other legal services, but it is linked in with Legal Aid WA's duty lawyer service. The Bail Support Service has six Bail Support Workers: three social support workers (including a senior social worker) and three paralegals.
The Bail Support Workers can offer people a range of practical assistance including:
- reminders about court appearances by text and phone
- assistance with accommodation
- home visits
- advocacy and support in the community
- engaging with the family of clients and other support people
- arranging transport for accused people (for example, to court, or home from prison)
- providing accused people with some immediate necessities upon release (such as Smartriders, food vouchers, warm clothes, diaries and, in some cases, basic mobile phones)
- linking accused people with a wide range of community and government organisations, including Centrelink, Homeswest, NDIS, Medicare, emergency accommodation services, health practitioners, drug and alcohol services, community mental health teams and aged care services.
The exact level and type of assistance a person will receive is based on their individual circumstances. Once a person is referred to the Bail Support Service, they will meet with one of our Bail Support Workers to discuss their needs. If the person is represented by a lawyer, the Bail Support Worker will also talk to the lawyer to discuss the person's needs and any potential barriers to bail.
If the client would be suitable for ongoing support while on bail (even if currently in custody), the Bail Support Worker will develop a bail support plan and provide it to the person’s lawyer. If the person is self-represented, the bail support plan can be provided directly to the Court with the client's consent, or to a Legal Aid WA duty lawyer.
If the person is granted bail, ongoing support will be provided as set out in the bail support plan, which will be reviewed if circumstances change.
How do I refer a person to Legal Aid WA's Bail Support Service?
For an accused or their support person
If you or the person you support has a lawyer, the first step is to discuss the Bail Support Service with the lawyer. You might want to give them the address of this webpage. You can be represented by a private lawyer and still be referred to the Bail Support Service; the lawyer does not need work for Legal Aid WA or have a grant or aid.
If you or the person you support is not represented, you can ask about being referred to the Bail Support Service with Legal Aid WA's duty lawyer on the next court date.
Alternatively, you can call the Bail Support Service directly on 9261 6818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Prisoners can call the Legal Aid Infoline from prison and ask to be put through the Bail Support Service.
Referrals can be made directly by emailing email@example.com or by calling 9261 6818. Lawyers will need to complete the Bail Support Service referral form for the client. A referral form and an information sheet are attached at the bottom of this webpage.
Both lawyers and clients must agree to participate with the Bail Support Service. If your client is being helped by the Bail Support Service, you need to keep the Bail Support Service informed about upcoming court dates, appointment times and dates, changes to bail conditions, amendments to the charges and the ultimate outcome of the matter.
The Bail Support Service needs this information to be able to properly help the accused person and because the Bail Support Service has reporting obligations to the Department of Justice, which are explained below.
Other important things to know
The Bail Support Service is voluntary
The Bail Support Service is entirely voluntary. It cannot force anyone to do anything they don’t want to, such as live in a certain place, go to counselling or take certain medication. The Bail Support Service does not enforce bail conditions; that is the role of the courts and the police.
The Bail Support Service only operates in the Perth Magistrates Court and Perth District Court
The Bail Support Service is part of a pilot project and only operates for clients with charges in Perth Magistrates Court or the District Court at Perth. At this stage, the Bail Support Service cannot assist people who only have matters in regional courts or in other metropolitan courts.
The Bail Support Service is a pilot project and is under evaluation
As a pilot project, the Bail Support Service is subject to ongoing evaluation and needs to share some client information with the Department of Justice. If a person would like to be assisted by the Bail Support Service, they will be asked to agree to provide certain information to the Department of Justice. This information is normally confidential, but it is not highly personal. It includes things like:
- the client's name and date of birth
- the number of times the client came to court because bail was breached
- the number of times that bail was reinstated
- the types of assistance we provided, and
- how often the client engaged with the service.
If you do not agree to share this information, the Bail Support Service may be unable to offer any ongoing support. However, we try to provide at least initial assistance wherever possible.
Prisoners can call the Legal Aid Infoline from prison and ask to be put through the Bail Support Service.
Reviewed: 7 October 2021