Extradition is the legal process by which one country requests someone’s surrender from another. Extradition from the UK can be requested in order that someone can be prosecuted, sentenced or serve a sentence already imposed.
The mechanism by which an extradition request is made differs depending on the overseas territory and its relationship with the UK. Where no extradition arrangement with the UK exists, it may still be possible for an ad-hoc arrangement to be put in place.
The number of extradition requests made to the UK grows every year. As a result extradition law constantly evolving. This – and this area of law’s multi-jurisdictional nature – means it can be very complex.
Hickman & Rose has deep expertise in extradition matters and has successfully opposed extradition to various European countries, as well as to the US, South Africa and Mauritius.
Anyone arrested in England or Wales on an extradition warrant will be taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London for their case to be heard. All extradition cases are initially heard here with any appeal going to the High Court in the first instance.
One of the things the Magistrates’ Court will consider at its first hearing is whether the sought individual should be granted bail or remanded in south London. Anyone seeking bail should ensure they have the right expert legal team in place to prepare and present the best possible bail application package.
Extradition is never automatic, but successfully challenging another country’s extradition request is not easy, particularly in relation to European Arrest Warrants (‘EAW’s). The available challenges to extradition will always be both fact and case specific, determined by the jurisdiction making the request and dependent upon whether it is an accusation and/or conviction warrant. Such challenge can broadly be broken down into statutory, technical and human rights challenges.
A successful challenge to extradition, for example, can potentially be made on grounds of:
At Hickman & Rose we have experience of successfully challenging extradition on all of these grounds.
Anyone who fears they may be subject to an extradition request is advised to instruct a specialist lawyer as soon as possible.
This requirement for speed is because if an arrest has already been made (particularly in relation to a request made by an EU member state under the EAW) then the case will usually move extremely quickly. There is usually a great deal of work to be done at the very start of the case.
Appointing the correct lawyer at the beginning of an extradition matter can ensure that the right strategic groundwork is laid to build a successful defence and retain liberty.
Depending on the circumstances of the case it can sometimes be strategically advantageous to enter into negotiations with the requesting jurisdiction at the same time as the extradition proceedings continue. This can particularly be the case with accusation warrants, where agreements can sometimes be made for a person’s voluntary return to jurisdictions to face the charges. This can have important implications for your liberty throughout any proceedings as potential deals will often include considerations in relation to bail.
Hickman & Rose has successfully opposed extradition to many countries and has, in the course of this, built powerful working relationships with specialist lawyers in jurisdictions around the world.
These professional relationships can often prove to be the key to opening negotiations with a requesting state which can be of great benefit to the client. We have found this be to particularly true in cases concerning extradition requests made by the US.
Hickman & Rose’s extradition lawyers understand that often it is not just the extradition request which needs to be defeated. We frequently work with high profile clients who are concerned about the impact of such requests on their reputation. We work closely with outside experts to mitigate the impact such proceedings can have and have also achieved significant success in managing the arrest process in way that avoids public embarrassment.
The firm’s civil litigation team is also able help with the various issues which can arise after an extradition request has been successfully challenged such as dealing with international travel difficulties.
14 May 2021
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