As a result of the current health crisis, the number of people being arrested and going through court has drastically decreased. However, this does not mean that the Police cannot charge someone and that criminal proceedings cannot be raised down the line. There are many alternatives to making you spend a night in the cells that the Police have at their disposal. And, because the Criminal Courts are operating at such a limited capacity, there has been a huge increase in their use.
The most common alternative is a Bail Undertaking. If someone is released on a bail undertaking, they are required to (1) adhere to the standard conditions that are imposed as part of the undertaking, and (2) attend court on the specified occasion. (For more information on the standard conditions and bail undertakings generally, visit our guide here).
The short answer is yes. Bail undertakings are one of the few areas of the Scottish criminal justice system that have been largely unaffected by the emergency legislation. You will therefore be required to attend court at the date and time specified on your undertaking form. If you have lost the form, we can contact the court on your behalf and obtain the relevant information for you. We can also represent you at the hearing. Lastly, as stated above, it is common for undertaking hearings to be cancelled at the last minute. If you instruct us to attend on your behalf, we can find out whether or not your case is definitely going to call and avoid you having to attend court unnecessarily.
In addition to the standard conditions imposed as part of the undertaking, it is sometimes the case that special conditions are imposed, such as that the accused person must not approach or contact a certain person, or that they must remain within their home address during certain times (which is known as a ‘curfew’).
Understandably, it is often the case that the people involved are not happy with the conditions that are imposed. For example, in domestic cases, it is often the case that the couple are not supportive of the conditions and do not wish to be kept apart; issues relating to childcare could also make the undertaking conditions problematic. Further examples include being prevented from working due to the hours of the curfew, or simply requiring to have your address in the conditions changed because you are moving to a new home.
If you are unhappy with the conditions that have been imposed as part of your bail undertaking, or if they are causing you or your family difficulties, then it may be possible to have them removed or varied. If you wish to explore this route, please contact our office and, if there are grounds to vary your undertaking conditions, we will apply to the Court to have them varied on your behalf.