UK bail laws breach human rights

The Commission today released a report which recommends three key changes to our existing bail laws to ensure compliance with the ECHR.

The three offending provisions of the Bail Act 1976 are those that:

* forbid a court granting bail to those charged with murder, manslaughter or rape save in exceptional circumstances

* remove the right to bail if defendants have been arrested because police believe they may break a bail condition

* remove the right to bail if the offence is allegedly committed while the defendant is on bail for another offence.

The Commission also want magistrates and judges to be trained up to ensure they apply other areas of the Bail Act in a way which does not breach the Convention.

The danger areas here, the Commission says are provisions that remove the right to bail for the defendant's own protection or where it is believed the defendant may reoffend and those which permit a court to refuse to hear all the defendant's arguments after the first two hearings unless there is a change in circumstances.