Practice direction on High Court bail
The Criminal Law Committee would like to draw the attention of members to a practice direction in relation to High Court bail issued on 28 January 2016 by the President of the High Court. The practice direction makes a number of changes in relation to the days of the week upon which High Court bail applications are heard and also reminds practitioners of the procedures for bail applications under SI 470/2015 (Rules of the Superior Courts (Bail Hearings) 2015).
From Monday 15 February 2016, High Court bail applications are no longer to be heard on a Monday. Instead, bail applications from prisoners who are detained in prisons in the greater Dublin area will be heard on Tuesdays, with the list commencing at 11am. There will be a first and second calling of cases in the list, but no more than that. Applications for bail from prisoners who are detained in prisons other than in the greater Dublin area will be heard at 11am on Thursdays. Similarly, there will be a first and second calling of cases in the list, but no more than that. If necessary, cases not reached on Tuesdays will be heard on Wednesdays.
The practice direction also provides that it will not be permissible to adjourn bail applications from prisoners detained in Dublin prisons to other than a day dedicated to such applications, and the same will apply in respect of adjournments for non-Dublin cases.
Practitioners should also be aware that the practice direction emphasises the implementation of SI 470/2015. Under SI 470/2015, the affidavit grounding an application for bail must be sworn by the applicant and must follow the particular format set out in the statutory instrument. From 8 February 2016 onwards, the Central Office of the High Court will not issue or provide a return date for a notice of motion seeking bail unless the affidavit of the applicant grounding it complies with the these rules.