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- Serious and Complex Crime
Criminal investigations and prosecutions are rapidly becoming international, with agencies from different countries co-operating to a degree unknown even a decade ago. This changed international approach to law enforcement was reflected in the controversial Extradition Act 2003 which put into practice the European Arrest Warrant as the basis for extradition applications by European countries to the UK, and also by the 2003 UK extradition treaty with the US. The result has been that, since 2003 many more people in the UK, both UK nationals and non-nationals have been the subject of extradition requests – that is, applications by other countries that they be returned there to be prosecuted or punished for offences allegedly committed there.
Being subjected to an extradition request can be a devastating and bewildering experience. Individuals often have little or no warning that an application will be made and the initial stages of the process can be traumatic. It is then often a shock to discover that current UK extradition law often allows only limited and narrowly defined possibilities to oppose and defeat the extradition request. It is therefore essential to access good advice at an early stage. Particularly alarming for individuals facing extradition is that, under the current law, individuals are being subjected to extradition applications not just in relation to serious allegations, but also for seemingly very minor offences. Bindmans have recently represented clients facing extradition for allegations for offences such as shoplifting committed a decade ago, for example. But whatever the offence alleged, we never lose sight of the potential impact of extradition on our clients and their families.
Our Extradition Team has the expertise to guide you through this difficult experience, give clear and accessible advice and to strongly promote and protect your interests. The team is headed by Martin Rackstraw (ranked in Chambers and Legal 500) who, amongst other cases, acted in the first case under the Extradition Act 2003 to be heard in the House of Lords Belgium-v-Cando Armas.
Our Team draw on their experience of defending not only in extradition cases involving a huge range of offences, but in many other very serious high profile criminal cases, many with political aspects (see Serious and Complex Crime and Fraud Financial and Business Crime). We regularly defend in complex financial crime prosecutions, an area of law that has seen a large rise in extradition applications in recent years, and have particular expertise in cases involving international corruption. Bindmans is also an acknowledged leader in the field of human rights which places us in a particularly strong position to defeat extradition applications, as in many cases human rights arguments are central to a successful outcome. We also draw on the expertise of our Immigration Team to advise on asylum and other related aspects of our clients’ cases.