Remand in custody

My family member/partner has been remanded in custody. What does remand in custody mean?

When a person is remanded in custody it means that they will be detained in a prison until a later date when a trial or sentencing hearing will take place. The majority of prisoners on remand have not been convicted of a criminal offence and are awaiting trial following a not guilty plea.

If a person is convicted and remanded in custody until a sentencing hearing this is known as ‘Judges Remand’. A prisoner subject to ‘Judges Remand’ is no longer entitled to the privileges available to unconvicted individuals and is treated as a sentenced prisoner.

Why has my family member/partner been remanded into custody?

The reasons a prisoner may be held in custody leading up to a trial vary. The prosecution can indicate one or more of the following as reasons a person should not be released on bail:

  • The individual has previous convictions for similar offences.
  • There is reason to believe that the individual may fail to turn up at the trial.
  • There is reason to believe that the individual may interfere with witnesses.
  • There are reasonable grounds to believe an individual would commit further offences before their trial.

However, the Bail Act of 1976 intends that unless one or more of the reasons outlined above can be demonstrated by the prosecution, then the individual in question should be remanded on bail, meaning they are free to leave the court but must attend on the next occasion. This is called the ‘presumption in favour of bail’.

The bail may be ‘unconditional’ or may come with a set of conditions such as residence at a particular address. This is known as ‘conditional bail’ and aims to allay any fears raised by the prosecution by putting in place measures that combat the reasons put forward for refusing bail.

In serious cases where an individual has been charged with murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, rape or attempted rape there is no presumption in favour of bail and the individual will automatically be remanded into custody.

If my family member/partner is taken into custody can I visit them at court after the hearing?

Unfortunately it is not possible once a hearing is complete, and an individual has been remanded into custody or sentenced, for relatives or partners to have contact with their loved one. In the time immediately after the hearing the individual who has been remanded or sentenced will be taken back to the cells in the court building and from there will be transferred to a local prison establishment. It is often the case at court that not even solicitors are allowed to visit the prisoner directly after a hearing.

So where will my family member/partner be taken if they are remanded into custody?

The answer to this question will depend on the area of the country the case is being heard in and the specific court at which the hearing has taken place. In most cases a court will allocate prisoners to a prison in the local area. There are normally specific prisons that support specific courts. The solicitor handling the case should be able to tell you the name of the prison to which your loved one has been taken.

However it may be that on some occasions the local prison is full or that the situation of the prisoner requires they be sent to a specific institution that may be a bit further away. For example, female prisoners from across the North West will, in the main, be taken to HMP Styal in Cheshire as it is the only female institution in the area.