Show Cause Bail Applications

The presumption in favour of granting bail to a person charged with a criminal offence in Queensland is reversed when a person is in a ‘show cause’ situation. If you are in a show cause situation you are required to show cause as to why your detention in custody is not justified. You might find yourself in a show cause situation for one of the following 5 reasons:

  • You committed an offence while on bail (not including simple offences, for example offences punishable by fines only).
  • You committed an offence against the Bail Act 1980 (most commonly failing to appear in accordance with a bail undertaking or breaching a bail condition in another way).
  • You committed an offence while armed with a weapon (including a firearm of explosive).
  • You committed certain offences relating to organised crime.
  • You committed an offence punishable by mandatory life imprisonment.

You might also find yourself in a show cause situation if you are charged as being a member of a prescribed organisation, for example an outlaw motorcycle gang.

Just because you are in a show cause situation does not mean that you cannot be granted bail, but it does mean that there is an extra barrier to a court doing so. You are required to establish why your continued detention in custody is not justified. There are a variety of ways of doing this, but it is not as simple as a bail application at first instance (that is, before you find yourself having to show cause).

If you or a family member is in custody and in a show cause situation you should seek out legal advice and representation as soon as possible. A show cause bail application can be a complicated undertaking and it is unlikely to be in a prisoner’s best interests to make the application alone.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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