What does on remand mean in UK courts?


WHEN a crime is reported in the press, and a person has been charged, you may see that they have been detained “on remand”.

But what does “on remand” mean in UK courts? Here’s everything you need to know…

Remanding a person is a way of detaining them or keeping them in police custody

What does ‘on remand’ mean in UK courts?

The remand process is a way of detaining a person who has been charged with a crime before they are convicted or cleared. 

When a suspect is charged with a crime, the police may place them on remand and they will be held in police custody.

This could just be for a few hours until the next available magistrates’ court hearing.

Alternatively, it could be over the weekend if they were arrested after the courts close. 

At the first hearing, the court will decide if the defendant should be remanded until the start of a trial.

The alternative is to be released on bail.

Bail will be granted to those charged with an offence when the courts, or police, are satisfied that there is no reason to detain the person.

According to Government guidance, you could be placed on remand for a number of reasons, including:

  • if you were charged with a serious crime.
  • Police think you may not attend your court hearing.
  • it is believed you will commit another crime while on bail.

Anyone who is under the age of 18 will be taken to a secure centre for young people, instead of an adult prison.

Later, if the defendant is convicted and given a prison sentence, the time spent on remand will be deducted from the length of the sentence.

In some cases defendants are released immediately after sentencing.

This is because of the time they already spent in custody outweighs their prison sentence.

When was the term first used?

The term “remand” dates back to the 15th century and literally means to “send back” or return.

It originates from the Latin word “mandare”, which means ‘order’ or command – so to “remande” means to “re-order”.

A person can be held in ‘remand’ up to 182 days

How long can someone be held on remand for in the UK?

Those placed on remand are subject to custody time limits.

Custody limits are used to ensure that un-convicted defendants aren’t locked up for too long before their trial.

The limits vary depending on the charge the defendant is facing. They are subject to Section 22 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.

According to InBrief.co.uk, defendants may be held for between 56 days and 182 days.

The nature of the charge determines the length they can be held for.

A defendant may be placed on remand for 56 days if they are accused of a summary offence.

A summary offence is a crime that can be dealt with without a trial. 

The amount of time for remand can increase to 70 days if the case must go to trial.

Alternatively, the length can be 182 days if it must go to a crown court trial.

Furthermore, defendants can also be detained for 112 days if a retrial is ordered by the Court of Appeal, or if the prosecution is granted a Bill of Indictment, which is an accusation presented to a grand jury.

What is remand and its types? 

Alongside the traditional definition of remand, there is also “judge’s remand”.

Defendants will be placed on judge’s remand after pleading guilty or being convicted at a trial.

The guilty party will be placed on this type of remand until a sentencing hearing which is usually held at a later date.

Normally after the plea hearing or trial.

The main difference here is that a remanded defendant is un-convicted.

Whereas those on judge’s remand have been convicted, but not yet sentenced.

A judge can also remand but the person must be convicted of a crime but not sentenced