Our criminal defence solicitors are highly experienced in defending individuals who are facing extradition.
Extradition requests can be made by overseas states for those accused or convicted of relatively minor offences as well as serious allegations. Extradition requests for those wanted overseas can also be made by the UK.
We are able to help with the following aspects of extradition:
- Advising prior to potential extradition proceedings being instigated with regards to Interpol Red Notice challenges or diffusions, and representations to the Secretary of State
- Coordinating with our Immigration, Asylum and Nationality team where appropriate, especially if an anticipated extradition request is politically motivated
- Advising before arrest regarding voluntary surrender, representations to the police, and preparing the strongest bail package
- Challenging the extradition request in court, instructing expert specialist counsel to assist
- Providing up to date advice on fast moving legal developments in this area
- Utilising our large database and access to lawyers overseas and experts to obtain expert reports to challenge the request
- Coordinating with overseas lawyers to facilitate a compromise of the extradition request, where appropriate
- Representing appellants in appeals up to the Supreme Court and representations to the Secretary of State and ECHR
Led by Kate Goold, who is ranked Band 1 in Chambers and Partners, and listed as a leading individual in the Legal 500, our dedicated criminal defence solicitors will ensure that anyone facing extradition will receive clear and comprehensive advice, have their case prepared to the fullest using expert evidence where necessary and will receive expert representation in court. We have successfully secured the discharge of extradition warrants in relation to requests from countries such as the USA, India, Jamaica, Russia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and EU States.
We understand that being the subject of an extradition request can be a devastating experience for an individual and their family. Our team of lawyers will be there to provide specialist advice throughout the entirety of the process. We never lose sight of the potential impact of extradition on our clients and have an imaginative approach to potential solutions.
Frequently asked questions
What is voluntary surrender?
If an individual is aware of an imminent extradition request, we can liaise with the Metropolitan Police Extradition Unit to arrange voluntary surrender. This avoids the inconvenience and distress of an arrest without warning and increases the likelihood of the Court granting bail from the outset of the case. The chances of bail being granted in any case are increased by careful preparation of the application and skilled representation at the first hearing.
What is the difference between a Category 1 and Category 2 territory?
Pre-Brexit all Category 1 territories were those in the EU. Post-Brexit they include all EU countries as well as Gibraltar.
Extradition arrangements between the UK and Category 1 territories where the arrest (not the issuing of the warrant) took place post 31 December 2020 are governed by part one of the Extradition Act 2003 as amended by Title VII (Surrender) of the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TACA 2020) which was adopted into the UK national law by the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 (EUFRA 2020).
For any European Arrest Warrant (EAW) where the arrest took place before 1 January 2021, the old rules under the EAW Framework apply.
Category 2 territories are governed by part two of the Extradition Act 2003 and this applies to territories with whom the UK has formal arrangements through the European Convention on Extradition, the Commonwealth Scheme, or a bilateral treaty. These territories are separated into two types, A and B. Type A countries are not required to provide prima facie evidence in support of their requests for extradition, whilst those in Type B are still required to do so.
Can I be arrested on an Interpol Red Notice?
The simple answer used to be no, however, following Brexit and the introduction of The Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Act 2020 an arrest can be made in some circumstances where an Interpol Red Notice or Diffusion has been issued on behalf of countries listed in Schedule A1 of the 2020 Act. This has to be certified by the National Crime Agency (NCA) before an arrest or provisional arrest can be made. The list of countries will be updated and the latest version should always be checked.
How do I challenge an extradition request?
Challenges to extradition are largely based on the process and its fairness, the judicial and personal treatment of the individual if returned, their personal circumstances, the impact of extradition on their human rights and the jurisdiction where the trial should be held. Extradition and human rights law is constantly evolving and outcomes can depend on political/diplomatic considerations so it is essential to instruct a specialist in this area.
How has Brexit affected extradition?
Post-Brexit the EAW was replaced by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) which largely left the Extradition Act 2003 untouched save for a change in emphasis. The EAW still applies to all extradition arrests pre-January 2021. Authorities from ECHR rulings still apply.
The language has changed slightly as ‘surrender arrangements’ describe the process and there is a greater emphasis on proportionality and less emphasis on mutual trust and cooperation.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) no longer has a role in UK extradition and this has been replaced by a ‘Specialised Committee on Law Enforcement and Judicial Cooperation’ that has the authority to, amongst other things, ‘monitor and review the implementation and ensure the proper functioning of this agreement or any supplementing agreement’.
Post-Brexit 16 out of 27 EU states have applied to the Specialised Committee to ‘opt-out’ of extraditing their own nationals to non-EU states (including the UK). The UK has not taken such a step.
Some commentators believe this development may undermine the culture of mutual cooperation and trust between the United Kingdom and the EU States and proportionality may carry greater weight post Brexit, but it is too early to tell.
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What others say
They are very good at what they do,’ says a source, adding: ‘They are very thorough in terms of research and case preparation’.Chambers and Partners 2021 – Crime: Extradition
Bindmans are a superlative firm on extradition matters, with a broad array of incredibly focused and committed solicitors. I have nothing but praise for the detailed and meticulous case preparation and they are always a pleasure to work with.Legal 500 2021 – Crime: General