This blog will be of interest to clients who find themselves in detention and their family members who are eager to see their loved ones released.
Detention can be a difficult and anxious time for clients. Your first thought will turn to how you can secure your release from the immigration removal centre. Often your family members and friends will be assisting you with offering suitable caution funds and a bail address.
Previously, you were able to lodge a bail application at any time. This application would be considered by the Immigration Judge and you would be granted or refused bail. If you were refused bail then it was open to you to lodge a further bail application for consideration.
Detainees' bail rights have been restricted under the new Immigration Act 2014.
From 7th July 2014 new bail provisions have come into force. There are further provisions still to be brought into force. However, it is likely that these will follow shortly.
It is very important that you are aware of these changes in order that you maximise your chances of securing bail at the first hearing otherwise you may be detained for longer than expected.
Bail Provisions in Force
You may not be released on bail, without the consent of the Secretary of State, if directions for your removal from the UK are in force.
The directions should require you to be removed from the UK within a period of 14 days starting from the hearing date.
As you can imagine, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain the consent of the Secretary of State in these circumstances! If the Secretary of State does not consent then the Immigration Judge has no power to grant you bail.
If the directions are for a date more than 14 days in the future then it may be open to you to argue that your removal is not imminent and that you should be released.
Bail Provisions not yet in Force
If you have applied for bail and the application has been refused by the Immigration Judge, you may not make a further application until 28 days has passed unless there has been a material change in circumstances.
It is therefore crucial to apply for bail at the correct time to maximise your chances of release otherwise you may find yourself detained for longer than expected.
This provision of the Act is not yet in force as the Tribunal must draft new rules into the bail procedure rules. However, it is likely that the rules will follow in the near future and that this provision of the Act will become law.
As you can see, it is very important to lodge a bail application at the correct time in order to secure your release.
Given the difficulties and complexities in this area of law we highly recommend that you contact a member of our immigration team to discuss bail applications further.
Please note that we can be instructed for bail applications from private individuals and also on an agency basis from other law firms.