Extradition is the process by which a person is transferred, often against their will, to face prosecution, trial or sentence in another country. Olliers act regularly for individuals abroad facing extradition to the United Kingdom, and can also advise and provide representation for those currently in the United Kingdom facing potential extradition to another country.
Extradition is a complex subject; early advice can have a huge impact on how cases are ultimately dealt with.
Extradition from the United Kingdom
Extradition legislation in the United Kingdom is enshrined in the Extradition Act 2003. Since it came into force, in 2004, the Act has been the subject of a plethora of caselaw, much of it argued in the High Court and Supreme Court.
Extradition from EU Member States & Gibraltar (Category 1 territories)
Extradition from EU Member States is subject to the provisions contained in Part 1 of the 2003 Act. Essentially, a European Arrest Warrant is examined and then certified by the National Crime Agency. Once certified, the subject of the warrant can be arrested and, on arrest, will be taken to Westminster Magistrates Court, the only court in England and Wales empowered to deal with the proceedings.
The Court will examine the warrant and, if in order, will then establish whether the subject of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) consents to extradition. If they do not consent within 21 days there must be a full hearing, when the case can (and should) be argued properly. There are a number of ways in which the request for extradition can be successfully defended. We can discuss the law as it applies to your particular circumstances on request.
Extradition from non-EU Countries
Request from non-EU countries are dealt with in a similar fashion. At present there are over 100 non-EU states that are known as Category 2 territories. In essence, request for extradition are considered by a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates. If satisfied that the request is appropriate, a warrant for arrest is issued.
In addition to Category 1 and 2 territories there are numerous individual agreements with additional countries, allowing extradition, in certain circumstances, from the vast majority of the world. For obvious reasons, the position changes as an when political difficulties arise (or diminish).
As one can imagine, extradition from the UK can sometimes happen extremely quickly and can lead to immense difficulties, not only for those concerned but also their family, often settled in the United Kingdom. Olliers’ lawyers are on hand to offer expert advice both prior to, and after arrest following the issue of a warrant for arrest.
Olliers instruct barristers experienced in a wide range of extradition cases.
Extradition from the UK is subject to the prosecution overcoming a number of hurdles, set out by the 2003 Act. It is therefore vitally important that you instruct us as soon as you are aware of potential proceedings.
Extradition to the United Kingdom
Extradition to the UK is sought when an alleged crime has been committed in the UK and the defendant is believed to be resident in a foreign country.
Again, Category 1 territories and Category 2 territories are dealt with under different provisions of the 2003 Act; however, in short, an extradition request to an EU member state is normally by way of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW). A request to a Category 2 state is made through the Secretary of State to the member state where the suspect is alleged to reside. Similarly, ad-hoc arrangements can be put in place in cases where a suspect is in a country with whom there is no specific agreement – although in practice this is rarely done.
Once arrested, the extradition hearing is dealt with under the relevant state’s own law, their prosecutor acting on behalf of the United Kingdom. Again, the defendant is asked whether they consent. If not, a separate hearing determines whether extradition is appropriate. Early advice is essential. Many foreign jurisdictions operate systems whereby the lawyer representing you (if provided by the state) may have no experience of extradition law (or the basis on which you could defend the request!)
Olliers has links to lawyers in foreign countries and as such can liaise with them should you be detained following the issue of a European Arrest Warrant. We will ensure you are represented to the highest of standards should you have the misfortune to be detained abroad. We will begin the preparation of your case as soon as possible. Often, early preparation of the proceedings in the United Kingdom can assist in the argument against extradition.
We have a team of lawyers on hand to advise you should you be concerned in relation to extradition to the UK to face criminal charges. We are regularly instructed by clients in foreign countries who are wanted in the UK.