When will an individual be extradited from the UK to a Category 1 country?


What is meant by extradition?

Extradition is the formal procedure for returning persons located in one country to another country for the purpose of criminal prosecution, to be sentenced for offences for which they have been convicted or for the carrying out of a sentence that has already been imposed.

Is there any legislation in England and Wales which deals with the extradition of people from our shores?

The Extradition of people out of the UK is covered by a piece of legislation called the Extradition Act 2003.

Extradition from the UK

Extradition from the UK can occur relating to two different categories of countries for that individual to be extradited to. They are as follows:

Extradition to Category 1 Countries

When an individual is extradited from the UK to another EU country which operates a system called the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) System they will have been extradited to a Category 1 country.

What will happen when someone is arrested on a Certified European Arrest Warrant?

An individual who is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant may be arrested by a police or customs officer on the basis of the European Arrest Warrant itself.

When someone has been arrested in this manner they must be produced at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court as soon as is reasonably practicable.

What will happen if an individual is not subject to a European Arrest Warrant?

In various circumstances of urgency the individual may be arrested by a police or customs officer that has reasonable grounds for believing that a European Arrest Warrant has been or will be issued. This process is known as provisional arrest. Following a provisional arrest the individual must be produced at the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court within 48 hours of arrest – furthermore the certified European Arrest Warrant must also be produced at this time.

What will be the process for the individual arrested under a European Arrest Warrant?

The individual who has been arrested as the subject of a European Arrest warrant and who faces extradition from the UK will be subject to the following two hearings:

  1. An initial hearing

  2. An extradition hearing

The Initial hearing

The hearing that will be experienced immediately after arrest is termed the initial hearing and is conducted in the presence of a District Judge. The procedure of the initial hearing must include the following elements:

  • A decision on whether the individual arrested is in fact the person named on the warrant

  • A date must be fixed for the start of the extradition hearing – this must take place within 21 days of the date of the arrest

  • The individual must be informed of the content of the European Arrest Warrant

  • A decision on whether or not to grant bail or remand the individual in custody pending the Extradition Hearing

The Extradition Hearing

The Extradition Hearing will again be held in front of a District Judge whereby the following issues must be decided upon:

  • Whether the offence is an extraditable offence

  • Whether there are any bars to extradition

  • Whether the extradition is compatible with the individual’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights

  • If the judge is satisfied that extradition can take place having considered these issues then they must make an order for the individual’s extradition.

Is it possible to appeal an extradition order?

An appeal against the decision of the District Judge will be heard by the Administrative Court with notice required to be given to the court within 7 days of the decision of the District Judge.  The appeal must commence within 40 days of the original arrest.

What happens if there is no appeal or the appeal is unsuccessful?

Where there is no appeal or the appeal is unsuccessful the person must be extradited back to the requesting category 1 country within 10 days of the extradition order being made by the District Judge.

Article written by...
Lucy Trevelyan LLB
Lucy Trevelyan LLB

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Lucy graduated in law from the University of Greenwich, and is also an NCTJ trained journalist. A legal writer and editor with over 20 years' experience writing about the law.