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 SolicitorRead More
The Daily Mail has reacted with its usual predictable outrage and lack of understanding to the recent decision of the High Court in the case of Grecu & Bagarea v Romania. This is the latest case in the ongoing saga of Romanian prison conditions.
Romanian prisons and the Article 3 Human Rights
There have been a number of cases both in this country and throughout the rest of Europe where people who are wanted by Romania have sought to challenge their extradition on the grounds that it would be a breach of their Article 3 Human Rights. It is widely accepted that the prison conditions in Romania are very poor, both in terms of the space allocated to an individual prisoner and the overall conditions.
Challenges in this country have been brought mainly in relation to the amount of space that prisoners are held in. In previous cases, the Court has decided that the amount of space that a prisoner would normally have is not enough. However, the Romanian authorities have promised that people extradited from the UK would be held in better conditions, with more space. Evidence from people later extradited has made it clear that this is not happening, and the Romanian authorities have accepted that there are problems.
At some point, the High Court is going to have to decide whether the Romanian assurances can be relied upon, as they continually breach them. The signs from other courts in Europe, and in particular from a Croatian case heard in the European Court of Human Rights, is that patience has run out. Our article JFH Crime secures the discharge of Romanian EAW, talks about the latest update from September 2017.
Another ‘last chance’ for Romania
Contrary to the Daily Mail’s view, the High Court has not said that Grecu and Baggarea can stay in this country. They have allowed the Romanian authorities ‘a final opportunity’ to provide the necessary undertakings, despite Romania having had a number of ‘last chances’. The Court appear to acknowledge that if the Romanian authorities cannot do so, there can be no extradition to Romania until the problem is resolved. It is likely that the High Court will make a decision in this case in the next few weeks, but do not expect that to be the end of the matter.
Please contact John Howey on 0207 388 1658, or email email@example.com if you wish to discuss your extradition matter with us further, or to find out whether your would be eligible for legal aid for extradition matters. We have a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in extradition who are here to help you.
John Howey, Senior Solicitor
On 15th March, the High Court granted permission to appeal to a number of appellants who have once again raised the dire state of Romanian prison conditions. However, permission to appeal is limited to people who have been sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment or less. Presently, Romania has given an assurance to the UK that those who serve 3 years or less will be placed in prison cells with at least 2 square metres in semi-open prison conditions. Prisoners who face more than 3 years’ imprisonment will be detained in closed conditions where Romania has guaranteed them individual space of at least 3 square metres.
The case of Mursic v Croatia
The High Court relied on the case of Mursic v Croatia, a Grand Chamber decision in the European Court of Human Rights. In Mursic v Croatia, it was decided there is a presumption of risk of degrading treatment if a prisoner is placed in a cell with less than 3 square metres of individual space. The Government then has an obligation to prove to the Court how this cell is compatible with the prisoner’s human rights.
What this means is that anyone facing extradition to Romania to serve a sentence of 3 years or less, or accused of an offence carrying a maximum sentence of 3 years or less, will not be extradited until the appeal is heard. It is likely that this will not be for at least two months, and possibly much longer if there is an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Please contact us on 0207 388 1658, or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to discuss your extradition matter with us further, or to find out whether your would be eligible for legal aid for extradition matters. We have a dedicated team of lawyers specialising in extradition who are here to help you.
Cheryl Low, SolicitorRead More