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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. A person who is on remanded in a prison is not treated as a convicted prisoner, as they have not yet been found guilty of any offence. They should also have further rights in prison, such as being able to wear their own clothes and having more visits. The time also spent on remand, could be taken off by the judge at sentencing should the individual be found guilty at trial. This time will be taken into consideration by the judge once they pass sentence.  

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?
A prisoner may be held in custody leading up to a trial vary for a variety of reasons. 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.

Unless your family member is remanded for one of the above reasons the court will remand the accused 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 they must live at a particular address, not associate with certain people or report to a police station regularly. This is known as ‘conditional bail’. If the person does not comply with the conditions they can be remanded into custody.

Serious cases
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?
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 to the cells in the court building and from there will be transferred to a local prison. It is often the case at court that not even solicitors are allowed to visit the prisoner directly after a hearing.

Where will my family member/partner be taken if they are remanded into custody?
Most courts will send those convicted to one specific local prison. The solicitor handling the case should be able to tell you the name of the prison to which your loved one has been taken.

On some occasions the local prison may be full or the individual may require a specific prison, in these cases they will be taken to a prison further away. This is known as a holding prison that the court has been issued. It can be difficult for a loved one to find out what prison an individual has been taken too. The solicitor may be able to advise family members once they know.

This page was updated on June 2020