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Bail success rates


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Bail for Immigration Detainees recently obtained statistics from the Ministry of Justice on the number of bail applications that are made at different hearing centres, and the outcomes of those hearings. There is quite a disparity in outcomes. For example, once withdrawn cases are set aside, the percentage of bail applicants granted at Taylor House in Central London was 39%, compared to 17% for Hatton Cross in West London, 23% at Newport and 16% at Glasgow.

There are arguably reasons why we would expect to see a lower success rate at Hatton Cross. Applications from the nearby removal centres of Harmondsworth and Colnbrooke are heard at Hatton Cross, and it might be expected that fewer of those applications would succeed than the average. Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling that notorious bail refusers such as Mr Woodcraft at Hatton Cross are also playing their part in skewing the figures. I can’t immediately think of any reason other than a local judicial culture of refusing bail that might explain the low figures at Newport and Glasgow.

The outcome of bail applications appears to depend on the culture in the judge’s canteen at the local hearing centre, not just on the objectively judged merits of the application.

It is possible in some cases to exert control over which hearing centre an application for bail is listed at. It seems from these figures that a detainee wanting bail would do well to consider this.

This pdf has the full figures, which includes the percentages but also the sample size information, to help judge the significance of the figures.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


3 Responses

  1. Whilst it is true there is a clear disparity, as one would expect, (bearing in mind that the merits of bail applications are as wide ranging as the quality of the food available at Exmouth Market and judge’s canteens’) It is reassuring to see that the statistics from Taylor House indicate a fair approach with bail being granted where appropriate.

    Although we can’t think of : “any reason other than a local judicial culture of refusing bail that might explain the low figures at Newport and Glasgow.” Is there any other reason than a local judicial culture of granting bail to explain the high figures at Taylor House? I’m sure there are commentators / readers in Newport and Glasgow wondering why there is such a culture in London and shaking their heads in disbelief.

  2. ‘Edward the Refuser’ Woodcraft, as he is known to the HO, must surely be responsible for the disparity between York and Taylor, perhaps another example of the lottery like Adjudicator dependent nature of the entire jurisdiction.