Facing extradition is a harrowing experience. We attend daily at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court and this is where all requests to send persons to another jurisdiction are initially heard.
Our expertise in this complicated area of law means we are able to help challenge Extradition Requests.
We are experienced in High Court challenges to Extradition Requests, and Jon Black regularly appears at Court representing persons subject to such Requests.
We have successfully appealed Court decisions ordering extradition, in both the Magistrates Court and The High Court, and work closely with expert Barristers in this field.
- The law of Extradition consists of arrangements between states for the handing over of people from one state to another in order that they may face trial or serve sentences that they have previously evaded.
- The Extradition Act 2003 means two different procedures now apply, depending on whether the country requesting extradition is a category 1 or 2 state.
- Category 1 – A fast-track European Arrest Warrant involves a simplified procedure.
- Category 2 – A more complex procedure, where the country requesting extradition may have to prove a case to answer.
- Both procedures must be compatible with the European Convention. BSB specialises in human rights challenges to extradition requests.
- The extradition process often starts without warning. It is important that specialist advice is obtained at a very early stage, as soon as it becomes clear that a criminal investigation has begun.
- It may be possible to instruct lawyers in the requesting country to forestall any extradition application.
What Is the Process?
The requesting State contacts the UK authorities and makes an extradition request. This may result in a warrant being issued against you, and court proceedings commenced.
It might be the case that you fear an extradition request will be made in the future – if so, you should contact us without delay so that we can advise on the options available.
Save in very exceptional circumstances your case will be heard before a District Judge sitting at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.
Once formalities are dealt with, the court will consider whether the tests for extradition are met. In some cases, the final decision will rest with the Home Secretary.
In some instances, a case can be disposed of very quickly, in others, it will involve a contested hearing.
The exact process will depend on which extradition regime is being applied, as it varies between requesting States.
Do I Need a Solicitor?
Yes, is the simple answer. Extradition Law is incredibly complex, and there are no circumstances where it is appropriate to try and navigate your way through this legal maze.
A duty solicitor will be available at Court to assist you, but even at that stage, you can insist that we are contacted to help – the earlier we are instructed in the proceedings, the better equipped we will be to assist you.
We often work with some of the most expert counsel (barristers) who specialise in extradition law.
Experienced extradition lawyers can advise you on the processes and how an extradition request might be opposed.
Bars to Extradition
- The rule against double jeopardy.
- The absence of a prosecution decision (whether the prosecution case against the accused is sufficiently advanced)
- extraneous considerations (whether the request for extradition is improperly motivated)
- passage of time
- the requested person’s age
- speciality (the requested person must only be dealt with in the requested state for the offences for which they have been extradited)
- onward extradition (where the requested person has previously been extradited to the UK from a third county, and consent for onward extradition from that country is required but has not been forthcoming)
- forum (whether it would be more appropriate for the requested person to be prosecuted in the UK instead)
The judge must also decide if extradition would be disproportionate or would be incompatible with the requested person’s human rights (for example the right to family life is a person has been settled in this Country for some time). If the judge decides it would be both proportionate and compatible, extradition must be ordered.
Note that the process is different when the final extradition decision is to be made by the Home Secretary.
It is vital that all available evidence is presented during the hearing, and this may involve testimony from experts both in this Country and from abroad.
In a significant number of cases, further avenues of appeal are available to the High Court, and the Supreme Court.
Is Funding Available?
Legal aid may be available depending on your financial circumstances. If you are not eligible for legal aid, then we will be able to offer a privately funded package.
A few of our more prominent successful outcomes
UAE v Halliday
Where Jonathan Black instructed Ben Cooper to successfully argue that to extradite Mr Halliday to the United Arab Emirates could lead to a breach of his human rights on account of his sexuality.
More information can be found here
Magiera v Poland
Jonathan Black instructed Robert Katz to successfully argue in the High court that the Extradition warrant should be withdrawn on the basis that Mr Magiera required complex medical care which may not be provided for in a Polish prison.
Shumba and others v France
The High Court having read reports and heard arguments by counel, demanded that France provide assurances that Mr Shumba would not be subject to degrading prison conditions . Read more here
Brown and others v Rwanda
Long-running proceedings in which Frank Brazel instructed Alun Jones QC and Sam Blom-Cooper to fight the extradition of Vincent Brown who was facing prosecution in Rwanda for War Crimes. The Divisional Court allowed the appeal on the basis that the tribunal in Rwanda would not try the matter partially.
Leave Nothing To Chance
The prospect of being returned to another Country to face legal proceedings is daunting; it is, therefore, essential that you seek out expert assistance at an early stage. Please contact Jonathan Black on 0207 837 3456 or email email@example.com