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Good Behaviour Bonds & Adjourned Undertakings

A good behaviour Bond or Adjourned Undertaking is a process where a person makes a formal promise to the Court.

A good behaviour Bond or Adjourned Undertaking is a process where a person makes a formal promise to the Court.

The Children's Court may impose a Good Behaviour Bond or in the Adult Jurisdiction an Adjourned undertaking.

Bonds or formal undertakings come with conditions. These include the payment of a fine & a condition that person does not commit any further criminal offences during the period of the Bond or Undertaking.

Other conditions may also be added to the Bond or undertaking.

  • Generally, most adjourned undertakings require people to observe conditions. (e.g, Payment of a fine or being of good behaviour during the period of the adjournment).
  • Bonds or adjourned undertakings are dealt with administratively. That is, they are dealt with by the Court in the absence of the person subject to the bond or adjournment.
  • They do not require attendance at Court if all the conditions attached to the Good Behaviour Bond or Adjourned undertaking have been completed.
  • A Court may still order a person to appear.
  • If people are unsure if they are required to attend Court (specifically Children’s Court matters) they should contact the Court where the matter is listed to confirm if they are required to attend.
  • It is common practice for the Court to list a hearing at the conclusion of the Bond or Undertaking period.

Example: A Children's Court Good Behaviour Bond may last for for 6 or 12 months – The Children's Court will list a date 6 or 12 months after the imposition of the Good Behaviour Bond.

  • Subject to all the conditions of the Bond or Undertaking having been met -The matter will be discharged administratively without the requirement that the person attend the hearing.
  • Bonds or Adjourned undertakings generally run for around 6-12 months but, although rare, can last up to 5 years in the adult Jurisdiction.
  • In the Children’s Court – Non-Accountable undertakings run for 6 months and up to 12 months in exceptional circumstances.
  • If a condition of a Good Behaviour Bond or Accountable Undertaking is not fulfilled the original matter will be relisted by the Court and the Client will be resentenced on the original charge.
  • The matter will be relisted if the person fails to adhere to any of the conditions of the Bond. E.g, failing to pay a fine.
  • It is important to remind people to pay any fine attached to a Bond or Adjourned undertaking prior to the end of the undertaking or adjournment period.
  • In the Children's Court, a non-accountable undertaking will be discharged even if the young person failed to meet the conditions.

Childrens Court

In the Childrens Court there are really 3 separate sorts of bonds / adjourned undertakings.

  1. Non-Accountable undertaking.
  2. Accountable undertaking.
  3. Good Behaviour Bond.

Adjourned Undertakings:

s363 CYFA – 6 months / 12 months in exceptional circumstances

A non-accountable undertaking is a process whereby the Court can find the child guilty of an offence (either summary or indictable) dismiss the charge and order either the Child or the Parent of the Child give an undertaking, with or without conditions to do an act/s or refrain from doing an act/s or acts for a period of 6 months, or in exceptional circumstances, 12 months.

If the conditions of the non-accountable undertaking are not fulfilled the Court must dismiss the matter and take no further action. s364 CYFA

s 365 CYFA

An accountable undertaking can be imposed where Court can find the child guilty of an offence (either summary or indictable) dismisses the charge and order either the Child or the Parent of the Child give an undertaking, with conditions to do an act/s or refrain from doing an act/s or acts for a period of 6 months, or in exceptional circumstances, 12 months.

Unlike a non-accountable undertaking – an accountable undertaking has consequences if not completed.

If the conditions of the accountable Undertaking are breached or not done – the Court will serve a notice on the Child or Parent of the Child requiring them to attend a hearing.

The hearing, unless the client agrees, will be listed in front of the same Magistrate who imposed the original undertaking.

Upon finding that the undertaking was not fulfilled the Children’s Court can do one of the following.

Cancel the undertaking; or

Continue or vary the undertaking but not extend the period; or

Revoke the order dismissing the charge and impose a fine not exceeding 1 penalty Unit. s366 CYFA

s367 CYFA

The Children’s Court can impose a good behaviour bond and adjourn the proceedings for a summary or indictable matter – without conviction for a period of no more than 12 months.

A Magistrate can in some circumstances extend the period to 18 months if the person is above the age of 15 and the circumstances are exceptional in nature.

In making the decision the Magistrate has to take into account the following;

  1. The nature of the offence; or
  2. The character and antecedents of the child; and
  3. whether or not the child pleaded guilty.

Good Behaviour Bond - Deferral of Sentence

s70 Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)

Under the Sentencing Act; Deferral or adjournments with an undertaking are designed to;

  1. Provide for the rehabilitation of an offender by allowing the sentence to be served in the community unsupervised. And;
  2. To take account of the trivial, technical, or minor nature of the offence committed.
  3. to allow for the offender to demonstrate his or her remorse in a manner agreed to by the court
  4. To allow for circumstances in which it is inappropriate to record a conviction
  5. to allow for circumstances in which it is inappropriate to inflict any punishment other than a nominal punishment
  6. To allow for the existence of other extenuating or exceptional circumstances that justify the court showing mercy to an offender.

s70, Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)

s72 Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)

A court, on convicting a person of an offence, may adjourn the proceeding for a period of up to 5 years and release the offender on the offender giving an undertaking with conditions attached.

The Magistrates Court must include the following conditions;

  • that person attends the court if called on to do so during the period of the adjournment and, if the court so specifies, at the time to which the further hearing is adjourned.
  • That the person remains on good behaviour during the period of the adjournment.

A fine must be attached to any deferral

Adult Jurisdiction

s75 Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)

The Court, on being satisfied that a person is guilty of an offence, may (without recording a conviction) adjourn the proceeding for a period of up to 5 years.

(The standard adjournment period is 12 months)

The following conditions must be included in any undertaking attached to a adjournment;

  • That the offender attends before the court if called on to do so during the period of the adjournment; And,
  • if the court so specifies, at the time to which the further hearing is adjourned; and
  • A fine.
  • that the offender observes any special conditions imposed by the court and may include a condition requiring the offender to make a payment to an organisation that provides a charitable or community service or to the court for payment to such an organisation.

s75, Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)(opens in a new window)

Usually, without conviction adjournments carry minimum conditions and are usually only 6-12 months in duration.

Once complete, subject to the minimal conditions having been met the matter is discharged without the person having to attend court.

A justice plan is a plan formulated to respond to someone who has an intellectual disability and can run for a maximum of two years.

The purpose of a justice plan is to set out available services designed to reduce the likelihood of the offender committing further offences.

The attachment of justice plan is imposed as a condition of any deferral of sentence.

This means the person will be required as a condition of the deferral to particpate in the services offered under the justice plan.

Orders for Justice plans are made under s80 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)(opens in a new window)

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