Extradition is a specialist area of law. Extradition is when another country has requested a person be sent to the country making the request to face criminal proceedings or to serve a sentence when the Requested Person has already been convicted.
There are two parts to extradition; Part 1 relates to European Arrest Warrants and Part 2 relates to countries outside of the European Union (EU).
The extradition process begins when a country makes a formal request for a person to be returned to the Requesting State. If it is a country within the European Union that is making the request then the National Crime Agency (NCA) will initially receive the request. The NCA will then review the request and where appropriate issue a warrant for the Requested Person. In relation to non-EU countries, the Home Office are responsible for receiving the extradition request.
There are two types of warrant. The first is an accusation warrant whereby the Requesting State wants the Requested Person returned to face prosecution; the second is a conviction warrant whereby the Requested Person has already been convicted and so is wanted to serve a sentence. This also includes persons who initially received a suspended sentence but is now required to serve the custodial element.
Once a warrant has been issued, the Requested Person will be arrested. No matter where the Requested Person is arrested in England and Wales, they will be brought to Westminster Magistrates Court in London. This is the only court in England and Wales that hears extradition cases in the first instance.
Once the Requested Person has been arrested, they must be provided with a copy of the extradition warrant and brought to Westminster Magistrates Court as soon as is practicable. Failure to do either of these things could result in the Requested Person being discharged and released.
Once at Westminster Magistrates Court, the Requested Person will usually have a conference with a Solicitor in the cells.
The Court must be sure that the person arrested is the same person the warrant relates to. Identification is usually checked by the police when the person is arrested. If the person is arrested and disputes they are the Requested Person, this will need to be resolved.
A Requested Person can consent to be extradited. Consenting means is final and must be in writing. Consenting means the Requested Person loses their right to appeal and will be extradited within 10 days. Consenting also means loss of ‘speciality’. This means that they could be prosecuted for offences in the Requesting State not included in the warrant.
A Requested Person can refuse to consent but not argue against extradition. This protects their speciality.
Bars to Extradition
Once a Requested Person has refused consent in the courtroom, extradition proceedings will be opened. The ‘bars’ will then be raised. The bars are the arguments set out to argue against a person being extradited.
There are a number of bars that can be raised. These arise directly from the Extradition Act and also in accordance with the Requested Person's Human Rights.
Each case is unique therefore to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity, usually prior to the initial hearing.
A common misconception is that the extradition proceedings are fighting the criminal allegation in the Requesting State when in fact the extradition proceedings are to fight for the Requested Person to remain in the UK by showing why it would be unjust for a person to be extradited.
Once the bars have been raised, the Court will set the case down for a Full Extradition Hearing.
A bail application can be made in extradition proceedings in the same way as criminal cases. If the Requested Person faces a conviction warrant, there is no presumption of bail.
Bail conditions is extradition proceedings tend to be more onerous than in criminal proceedings; a pre-release security will usually be required - meaning a sum of money will need to be paid to the Court before the Requested Person will be released. We will be able to advise you as to what is required.
Full Extradition Hearing
The Full Extradition Hearing is where the arguments against extradition are heard. Once the arguments are completed, the Judge may give judgement on the day or may decide to adjourn the case for a full written judgement to be provided.
If the Judge decides to extradite, the Requested Person has 7 days in which to apply to an Administrative Court for permission to appeal against extradition. If the Judge decides to discharge the Requested Person, the Requesting State has 7 days in which to notify of their intention to appeal.
Extradition is a complex and ever-changing area of law. Legal Aid available for extradition if the Requested Person is financially eligible.
Extradition is more often than not unexpected therefore if a friend or relative has been arrested, please call our 24-hour emergency number on 07812 060606. Alternatively, you can contact us on email@example.com or call us on 0207 485 6677. You can also tell us about your case or query by completing the form below.
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