Information about bail for children
Being on bail means children who have been arrested or charged with a criminal offence can leave the police station or court but must return or go to court on a specific day at a specific time. If they do not turn up they can be arrested. It is also more serious if a person commits an offence when they are on bail. If a person has bail conditions, they must follow them or they can be arrested.
A child who has been arrested and released from the police station will be on bail unless they are kept in custody or no further action was taken (or they are de-arrested).
When a child goes to the court for the first time, their lawyer will make an application for bail. It is important to give the lawyer as much information as possible, for example, about their health and wellbeing, family and living arrangements, where and when they go to school or college, if they are in employment, apprenticeship or training.
Bail applications for children are different from adults for three reasons:
- The youth offending team (YOT) have a duty to provide information, bail support and supervision packages created for the individual child.
- If bail is refused the child must be remanded to local authority accommodation unless the specific conditions are met to remand the child to youth detention accommodation (custody). At the police station, children are transferred to ‘section 38 beds’.
- The police1 and the courts2 should always consider the child’s welfare and the child’s best interests.3 This means a court should consider more applications for bail for children than for adults.4
1 Section 11 Children Act 2004
2 Section 44 Children and Young Person’s Act 1933
3 Article 3, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
4 Paragraph 17, R (B) Brent Youth Court  EWHC 1893 (Admin)