Extradition is a hugely complex area of the law and anyone named in an extradition request should seek expert legal advice and representation as soon as possible.
Once an extradition request has been received by the relevant authorities, you are liable to be arrested, but, unlike an arrest for a criminal offence committed in this country, you will not be taken to a police station to be interviewed. Instead you will be taken directly to Westminster magistrates’ court in London for the initial and the extradition hearings.
When to speak to your lawyer
You are entitled to speak to a lawyer whilst in police custody and to be represented in court. You can speak to a duty solicitor for free on your first appearance at court, however, thereafter you will need to appoint your own lawyer, either by applying for legal aid or instructing your own solicitor privately.
Discussing your options with an experienced extradition lawyer should be done at the earliest opportunity, even before a request has been made and you simply suspect you may be subject to extradition proceedings. Early involvement of a specialist lawyer will enable enquiries to be made both in the UK and in the country that may be seeking your extradition and establish the likelihood and circumstances of the request.
In some situations it may even be possible to engage legal advice and representation abroad to deal with any allegations against you and negate the need for extradition.
Entitlement to bail
You have the right to bail throughout extradition proceedings. However, the court may refuse it if they believe you to be a flight risk and fail to turn up to hearings, that you will interfere with witnesses or commit further offences, or if the extradition offence was committed while you were on bail abroad.
You have no right to bail though if the extradition request is for you to be returned to be sentenced for an offence for which you have already been convicted or to serve a prison sentence that has already been imposed. However, you are still entitled to apply.
Talk to an experienced extradition lawyer, who will be able to advise you as to the likelihood of you being granted bail and maximise your chances of obtaining it.
Bars to extradition
As a matter of policy, the UK will extradite its own nationals, providing no bars to extradition apply.
Potential bars include:
• the rule against double jeopardy (facing the proceedings for the same offence twice)
• 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 (where so much time has passed since the original offence)
• the requested person’s age (where the defendant would be under the UYK age of criminal responsibility at the time of the original offence)
• 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. Other considerations are conviction in absence (where someone has been convicted and sentenced without being present at the trial) and the Dual Criminality Test (where the extradition offence must also be an offence in the UK; unless it is one of a list of 32 specified serious offences which are considered to be crimes in all countries, e.g. murder, drug trafficking etc.)
Accessing specialist legal advice and representation at the earliest opportunity will help anyone facing extradition proceedings navigate this very complicated situation.
To find out more about Edward Hayes LLP and how our solicitors can help in extradition proceedings contact us now on 01243 781431 (during office hours) or 0800 085 9684 (out of hours) or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org