We are expert extradition solicitors. If you have a query relating to this subject, call us now to discuss the case with one of our extradition solicitors, on 01623 397200.
What is extradition?
Extradition is the formal procedure for requesting the surrender of a person from one country to another for the following purposes:-
- To be prosecuted
- To be sentenced for an offence for which the person has already been convicted
- To carry out a sentence which has already been imposed
Which legislation covers extradition?
Primarily, extradition is covered by the Extradition Act 2003.
However, in order for there to be a full understanding of extradition proceedings with individual states, specific instruments should be referred to – i.e. treaties, conventions or schemes.
What is meant by ‘export’ and ‘import’ extradition requests?
‘Export’ requests are those made by another state to the UK, for the extradition of someone from the UK – also known as ‘incoming’ requests.
‘Import’ requests are those made by the UK to another state, for the extradition of someone to the UK – also known as ‘outgoing’ requests.
Can a person be extradited for any offence?
No. Only certain offences are ‘extradition offences’. There are definitions in the Extradition Act. Any applicable treaty or convention governing extradition proceedings with the state in question should also be consulted.
It is vital that our extradition solicitors review whether extradition is appropriate in each case.
Export extradition – what are category 1 territories?
These are the other 27 Member States of the European Union and also Gibraltar.
Part 1 of the Extradition Act covers export extradition from the UK to category 1 territories.
Export extradition – what are category 2 territories?
These are states outside the European Union. Currently there are almost 100 of these.
Part 2 of the Extradition Act covers export extradition from the UK to category 2 territories. Any other applicable extradition instrument should also be consulted.
Export extradition – what about extradition to states which are not classed as category 1 or 2 territories?
For the many states which do not fall into category 1 or 2, export extradition from the UK may be possible – see sections 193 and 194 of the Extradition Act.
For what reasons can an extradition request be refused?
Known as ‘bars to extradition’, reasons for refusals are listed in Parts 1 and 2 of the Act. The following are examples, but this is not an exhaustive list:-
- ‘Double jeopardy’; a person must not be prosecuted or sentenced in respect of an offence that he has already been convicted or acquitted of.
- Extraneous considerations; the request will be refused if the purpose of the request is deemed to be to prosecute or punish the person on account of race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation or political opinions, or if extradited the person might be prejudiced at his trial or punished unfairly for any of these reasons.
- Passage of time; the request will be refused if it would be oppressive to prosecute or punish the person for the extradition offence due to the age of the alleged offence.
- Age of wanted person; extradition is not possible if due to his age the person could not be convicted of the offence in the United Kingdom.
- Absence of speciality provisions; specialty is the principle that a person may only be dealt with in the requesting state for the conduct in respect of which extradition was ordered. Extradition instruments invariably include specialty provisions.
- Earlier extradition of the wanted person to the United Kingdom; in order to permit extradition to the requesting state in this situation the United Kingdom must first obtain permission from the state that extradited the person to the UK.
- Human rights; extradition will be refused if it would not be compatible with the person’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights within the meaning of the Human Rights Act.
- Death penalty; a person must not be extradited if there is a possibility that the person will be sentenced to death. Extradition may be possible if the requesting state gives an undertaking that the death penalty will not be imposed.
- Physical or mental condition; if it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite the wanted person on these grounds the extradition request will either be refused or adjourned until the condition improves.
- Forum; a person must not be extradited if the judge decides that a substantial measure of the activity in question was performed in the United Kingdom and that, having regard to a range of matters specified in the Act relating to the interests of justice (and only those matters), the extradition should not take place.
- Proportionality; in relation to EAW cases where the requested person is wanted for prosecution, extradition must not take place if the judge decides that extradition would be disproportionate taking into account the seriousness of the conduct alleged to constitute the extradition offence, the likely penalty and the possibility of the foreign authorities taking less coercive measures than extradition.
- Absence of a decision to charge and try; in EAW cases involving accusation warrants, extradition is not possible where it appears to the judge that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the requesting authority has not yet taken a decision to charge and try the requested person unless the sole reason for that situation is the absence of the requested person.
Import extradition – does this also fall into category 1 and 2 territories, as above?
Yes. The categories are as above but import extradition is from these territories to the UK.