Extradition proceedings can be difficult and distressing. 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 therefore essential to access good advice at an early stage.

 

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Extradition Law covers the transfer of a person who has been accused of criminal offences in a country outside the United Kingdom to that country to stand trial or serve a sentence. Extradition is one of the most complex and fast-developing areas of Criminal Law. Criminal investigations and prosecutions are rapidly becoming international.

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 United Kingdom, and also by the 2003 United Kingdom extradition treaty with the United States. The result has been that, since 2003 many more people in the United Kingdom, 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.

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We can advise at all stages of the proceedings, from pre-arrest (making enquiries into whether an extradition request has been made) to advice at the police station on arrest and representation at the Magistrates’ Court and the High Court. The firm has a constant presence at Westminster Magistrates Court (where all those facing extradition proceedings must appear) and we have successfully conducted  appeals against extradition at the High Court.

Most extradition cases are resolved in court but we are always aware of the possibility of negotiated settlements and to that end we can contact foreign governments to investigate alternative outcomes. For example, it can be possible to make representations to the foreign judicial authority to withdraw extradition requests for trivial offences where a fine would suffice.

In more serious cases, plea bargaining can result in a more favourable outcome on return. Such a non-adversarial approach can have the benefit of reducing the length of proceedings (and consequent strain on the individual facing extradition) and enabling agreement to be reached more easily on bail pending the conclusion of the case.

We also advise on appeals (for example against unsuccessful bail applications or unreasonable decisions of the Magistrate’s Court or Secretary of State) and can advise and represent clients in Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights cases.

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Legal aid is available for individuals facing Extradition. Where legal aid is not available we can represent you on a reasonable private basis which includes a fixed fee arrangement.

For more information please visit our Fees & Funding page.

 

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