The criminal solicitors at JMW are experienced in successfully defending extradition requests, and we have considerable knowledge on EU and non-EU extradition proceedings.
Our clients facing extradition also benefit from the close working relationship we have with a vast network of international lawyers.
To speak to a solicitor if an extradition request has been made against you, contact our London-based team on 0345 872 6666, or complete an online enquiry form to let us know a convenient time to call you back.
How JMW Can Help
Extradition law is a highly specialist field but one that is increasingly important due to the level of cooperation in modern cross-border law enforcement. Our team have wide-ranging practical knowledge of the possible arguments available to resist extradition and to challenge Interpol red notices. We can proactively manage cases at an early stage, prior to any formal requests having been made, to prevent a warrant being issued in the first place.
Our strategic approach has enabled us to robustly challenge extradition on technical procedural grounds, and on human rights grounds under the ECHR such as the right to respect for private and family life, the right to a fair trial (Article 6) and the right to not be subjected to inhumane or degrading treatment.
We provide a bespoke private service to each client at every stage of the case, from initially securing bail to compiling complex evidence for formal hearings.
If extradition is ordered by the Court of first instance, we can advise on appeal to the High Court and subsequently to the Supreme Court and to the European Court of Human Rights.
At JMW, our Business Crime & Regulation team offers an in-depth service, able to draw upon the experience of other departments within the firm, including immigration, public law, dispute resolution, family, reputation management and media law.
We can also ensure that appropriate protections are in place should an extradition request be made, such as putting forward a persuasive bail package and liaising with specialist lawyers in the requesting country.
It is vital to seek expert legal advice as early as possible to help you achieve a favourable outcome in your extradition case.
The Extradition Process
Extradition is the process by which a person is transferred, often against their will, to face prosecution, trial or sentencing in another country.
A person can be liable for extradition if they are accused or convicted of a crime in a foreign country. Countries without an existing extradition arrangement with the UK are able to extradite individuals through special circumstances.
If an arrest is made, a bail application will be submitted at the first appearance. Where an extradition request is made, our team will thoroughly review the background circumstances and provide clear advice on the opportunities to challenge it.
Grounds to challenge extradition include:
- Human rights considerations, such as the right to a fair trial, the right to a family life, and the right not to suffer inhuman or degrading treatment
- Defence against specific content in the extradition request
- UK exemptions, including the passage of time since the offending behaviour, dual-criminality, double jeopardy, and the physical or mental health of the accused
Our team is skilled in gathering and presenting the best possible evidence to support any challenges to extradition.
How does extradition from the EU work?
Extradition from EU Member States and Gibraltar (known as Category 1 territories) is subject to the provisions in the Extradition Act 2003 if the arrest was made before 31 December 2020, or the Trade and Co-operation Agreement 2000 if made after this date.
A European Arrest Warrant (EAW) will be issued for arrests made under the old framework, or an Arrest Warrant (AW) for arrests made under the new provisions. After being examined and certified by the National Crime Agency (NCA), the accused will be arrested and subsequently will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court – the only court in England and Wales to deal with extradition proceedings.
Once the court has examined the warrant and deemed it to be in order, it will then establish whether the subject of the arrest warrant consents to extradition. If consent is not given within 21 days, there will be a full hearing where the case can be argued properly, and the defence can be presented.
How does extradition from non-EU countries work?
Extradition requests from non-EU countries are handled in a similar way to EU member states. There are more than 100 countries that have extradition arrangements with the UK, including Switzerland, Norway, USA, Canada and Australia - these are known as Category 2 territories.
A request for extradition from a non-EU country is reviewed by a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and if satisfied, a warrant for arrest will be issued.
In addition to Category 1 and 2 territories, there are numerous agreements in place with other countries; however, the position changes if political difficulties arise or diminish.
Has Brexit affected extradition?
EAWs still apply for arrests made before 1 January 2021. For arrests made after this date, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement applies. These provide that Arrest Warrants (AWs) will be issued in the place of EAWs. The new system largely mirrors the old system. While there is no technical legal barrier to extradition to the UK from EU states, some are perceived to be more reluctant to extradite their own citizens to the UK following Brexit due to diplomatic tensions.
Am I able to appeal an extradition decision?
You are able to apply for leave (permission) to appeal successful extradition requests by both Category 1 and Category 2 territories. However, the process is slightly different for each.
To appeal an EAW, you must make an application for leave to appeal to the High Court within seven days of the decision being made. If leave is granted, the High Court will either uphold your EAW or quash it. If the High Court uphold the EAW, you still have a final option of appeal to the Supreme Court, provided your appeal is based on a point of law or general public importance.
To appeal a successful extradition request from a Category 2 state, you must make an application to the High Court for leave to appeal within 14 days of the decision. However, the Court will only hear the appeal if the Secretary of State has already requested your extradition. As with EAWs, if the High Court does not allow your appeal, you may appeal to the Supreme Court, provided it concerns a point of law or general public importance.
What if I want to comply with the request?
If you become aware that you are subject to an extradition request and wish to comply with law enforcement, or to avoid a sudden arrest, we are still able to assist you. We can advise you on any potential grounds for challenging the request. If there are none, or you do not wish to challenge it, we can contact the police to communicate that you wish to voluntarily surrender and coordinate that process for you. We can also prepare your case thoroughly for the first hearing to maximise the likelihood of being granted bail.
What is an Interpol Red Notice?
This is often an initial indication that a person may be facing extradition. Interpol is an information sharing network that uses Notices to communicate alerts and requests between member countries. A Red Notice can be issued by a member country when seeking the location and arrest of persons wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence of imprisonment. These notices can be made public on Interpol’s website or issued privately, so you may not know if you are subject to one.
If you are made subject to an Interpol Red Notice, we can advise you on whether this can be challenged and liaise and negotiate with law enforcement authorities on your behalf.