Extradition; What happens when I get to Court?
If you have been arrested on a European Arrest Warrant, it can be a daunting experience. The first thing to do is to make sure you get a solicitor. There are always duty solicitors available at Court, and they can help you at your initial hearing free of charge. Alternatively, you can contact a solicitor of your choosing.
In the courtroom
When you appear in court you will be asked your name and date of birth. The representative from the Judicial Authority will tell the District Judge what the warrant is about; which country it is from, if it is an accusation or a conviction warrant, what the offences are and what sentence has been imposed if it is a conviction warrant. The District Judge will want to know if you have been given a copy of the warrant and if you accept that you are the person named in the warrant.
Should you consent to your extradition?
The next step is to ask if you consent to your extradition. This is a big decision. If you consent then that is the end of the matter. You cannot change your mind later on, and you cannot appeal against the decision to extradite you. If you consent, you will be returned to the requesting state quicker than if you contest your extradition. You should be returned within 10 days, although that time can be extended whilst arrangements are made for your flights etc.
If you do not give your consent, then the District Judge will want to know the grounds on which you oppose your extradition. There are a number of statutory bars to extradition, and many people rely on the Human Rights Act. Once the issues have been identified, a date for the full hearing will be fixed and your case will be adjourned until then.
Want to know more?
If you want to know more about the extradition process, you can find out more here.
John Howey, Senior Solicitor