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Habeas Corpus

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This topic will provide you with all the updated new law on Habeas Corpus including direct links to the new Statute as well as a full copy of the latest Court of Appeal decision.

A Writ of Habeas Corpus is the name given to the procedure which can be used in rare cases to request an order from the High Court that a person be released from custody. 

It is quite different from the usual bail applications.  See our specialist topic entitled : Bail

An application to challenge the legality of a person's detention, and to free an unlawfully detained person, can be made to the High Court.

If the application is approved,  the Court will issue a Writ of Habeas Corpus, requiring a person to be brought before a Judge or into Court,  especially to investigate the lawfulness of their detention.

Ordinary appeals against the refusal of a Court to grant bail are dealt with within the standard appeal system. 

However, there may be cases where a person believes that they are being held in custody wrongfully and unlawfully.   It is these cases that the Writ of Habeas Corpus is used.

They file these documents known as a Writ of Habeas Corpus together with an Affidavit in Support and the High Court will react very swiftly to hold a hearing and enquire into the unlawfulness or not of the circumstances of the person being in custody. 

Visit our specialist site entitled : Affidavits

The Court staff are trained to treat such an application with urgency and we know of situations where High Court Judges  have adjouned or postponed other cases to hear and determine an application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. 

Indeed, Section 9 of the Habeas Corpus Act 2001 specifically states :

  1. An application for a writ of habeas corpus must be given precedence over all other matters before the High Court.
  2. Judges and employees of the Department for Courts must ensure that every application, including any interlocutory application, is disposed of as a matter of priority and urgency.
  3. The Registrar must allocate a date for the inter partes hearing of an application that is no later than 3 working days after the date on whic

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