Extradition: information you might find useful
Extradition law is complex. There's no easy way to summarise it all, but we have included some information below that we hope will help you.
All cases start at Westminster Magistrates Court in London and appealed to the Administrative branch of the High Court. Typically the subject of the extradition request, will have been arrested at their home or work address which is not necessarily in the vicinity of the court. It is possible in many circumstances to arrange for surrender prior to arrest. It is imperative that if you are aware of an Extradition Request or European Arrest Warrant in your name, that you contact us to make these arrangements as this will greatly assist with any bail application to be made following arrest.
The European Arrest Warrant (EAW)
The EAW is a scheme that the UK is part of by virtue of its membership to Europe. EAW’s will be issued where a person in the UK is wanted by one of the 23 member states. It is a scheme which allows member countries to issue international arrest warrants swiftly and secure the expeditious return of those requested. An EAW can be issued in one country and sent to member states for execution. The EAW carries a power of arrest for police officers and people that are arrested on an EAW are taken directly to Westminster Magistrates’ Court without an interview at the police station.
The procedure for extradition on an EAW is set out by law and there are tight time frames for the process to be completed. If extradition is resisted, a date for the hearing will be set and will usually be within 30-60 days from the date of arrest depending on the complexity of the issues raised.
Extradition Requests and Mutual Treaty Agreements
For most other countries, a treaty agreement between the two countries is the mechanism for a request to be issued. Arrests can be carried out on a provisional warrant, or a full extradition request. There are different legal requirements for different countries. Where a treaty doesn’t exist, it is possible for the two countries to engage in a one-off agreement to effect extradition.
Defending people requested by foreign jurisdictions requires a large amount of work as the onus is on the requested person’s to build a case to resist extradition. This usually involves the instruction of leading experts in the field of Human Rights, the impact of family separation, mental health experts (including PTSD) and foreign lawyers.
There is no longer an automatic right to appeal in Extradition and the application for an appeal must be lodged at the High Court within 7 days of the decision. The time starts to count from the day the decision is handed down and includes weekends.
Funding from the government, by way of a representation order is available for those that are eligible in the magistrates’ court. Legal Aid is not income tested in the Appeal courts, this means that funding from the government is available to all those appeal an extradition request or EAW.