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Extradition Bill


 

These notes refer to the Extradition Bill
as brought from the House of Commons on 26th March 2003 [HL Bill 50]

EXTRADITION BILL


EXPLANATORY NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1.     These explanatory notes relate to the Extradition Bill as brought from the House of Commons on 26th March. They have been prepared by the Home Office in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2.     These notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.

3.     Clauses 156 to 159, 165 to 167, and 170 and 172 of the Bill apply only to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Clauses 195 and 196 apply only to England and Wales. Clause 184 applies only to Scotland, and clauses 185 and 186 apply only to Northern Ireland. All other clauses of the Bill apply to the whole of the UK.

SUMMARY

4.     This Bill reforms the law on extradition.

5.     Extradition takes place when, at the request of another jurisdiction, a person accused or convicted of a serious offence is returned by the United Kingdom to that jurisdiction, or where a person is returned from another jurisdiction, at the United Kingdom's request, to stand trial or serve a custodial sentence. (This is distinct from deportation where the country in which the person is present initiates the removal process.)

BACKGROUND

6.     Crime, particularly serious crime, is becoming increasingly international in nature and criminals can flee justice by crossing borders with increasing ease. Improved judicial co-operation between nations is needed to tackle this development. The reform of the United Kingdom's extradition law is designed to contribute to that process.

7.     Extradition is an important tool in dealing with international crime: no one should be able to escape justice by simply crossing a border. The law should provide a quick and effective framework to extradite a person to the country where he is accused or has been convicted of a serious crime, provided that this does not breach his fundamental human rights.

8.     Current United Kingdom extradition legislation was enacted in 1989 but the Extradition Act 1989 is essentially a consolidation of three earlier pieces of legislation: Part 1 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, the Fugitive Offenders Act 1967 and the Extradition Act 1870 (as amended).

9.     The Government set out its proposals to reform the law on extradition in a consultation document "The Law on Extradition: A Review" in March 2001. It was the outcome of an exercise started in 1997 to consider the legislative requirements of two European Union Conventions on Extradition. However, it developed into a much more extensive inquiry, following the adoption at the Tampere Special European Council in October 1999 of the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions by Member States of the European Union.

10.     The publication of the Review followed an extensive period of consultation with officials from a number of organisations including the Crown Prosecution Service, Lord Chancellor's Department, Bow Street Magistrates' Court, Metropolitan Police, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and others. Its proposals, which were aimed at modernising arrangements between the United Kingdom and its extradition partners, included:

  • Creating a four level framework with countries being designated for each tier by way of an Order in Council;

  • A simple fast track extradition procedure for Member States of the European Union;

  • Retention of current arrangements for non-European Union states with modifications to reduce the duplication and complexity of extradition procedures;

  • A single avenue of appeal for all extradition cases; and

  • Accession to the 1995 and 1996 European Union Conventions on Extradition.

11.     There were 22 written responses to the proposals contained in the document, seven of which requested that their responses should not be published. The remaining 15 were published on 24th October 2001. Many detailed comments were made, but overall, the majority of those that responded supported the Review's proposals.

THE BILL

12.     The Bill makes provision to give effect to the proposals in the Review, although there are some changes which reflect the results of the consultation exercise and developments since the Review was published. (Accession to the 1995 and 1996 European Union Conventions on Extradition was approved by both Houses of Parliament on 19th December 2001.) The proposals in the Review have also been overtaken by progress in respect of extradition to other European Union Member States. This Bill includes provisions implementing the following European Community Legislation: the Council Framework Decision of 13th June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States (2002/584/JHA). A Transposition Note setting out how the Government will transpose into UK law the main elements of this framework decision is available from the libraries of both Houses of Parliament, or from the Home Office:

Extradition Bill Team

Room 1021

Home Office

50 Queen Anne's Gate

London SW1H 9AT

www.homeoffice.gov.uk/extraditionbill/extradition.htm

13.     The Extradition Bill was published in draft form on 27th June 2002 and was open to public consultation until 30th September 2002. There were 11 responses to the consultation documents, nine of which were published and are available from the libraries of both Houses of Parliament, or on the Home Office website (above). (Two contributors asked for their responses not to be made public.) The Bill therefore includes a number of amendments in the light of the comments received since it was published in draft.

14.     The Bill makes provision for new extradition procedures, the main proposals of which are:

  • A system where each of the United Kingdom's extradition partners is in one of two categories. Each country is designated by Order in Council for a particular category. It will therefore be possible for a country to move from one category to the other when appropriate, depending on the extradition procedures that the United Kingdom negotiates with each extradition partner;

  • The adoption of the Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant creating a fast-track extradition arrangement with Member States of the European Union and Gibraltar;

  • Retention of the current arrangements for extradition with non-European Union countries with important modifications to reduce duplication and complexity;

  • A simplification of the rules governing the authentication of foreign documents;

  • The abolition of the requirement to provide prima facie evidence in certain cases;

  • A simplified single avenue of appeal for all cases.

TERRITORIAL APPLICATION: WALES

15.     The Bill does not affect the powers of the National Assembly for Wales.

PART 1

EXTRADITION TO CATEGORY 1 TERRITORIES

Clause 1: Extradition to category 1 territories

16.     This clause defines the territories that are covered by Part 1 of the Bill.

17.     Subsections (1) and (2) explain that Part 1 of the Bill deals with extradition from the United Kingdom to those territories designated as category 1 territories by Order in Council. Under subsection (3) a territory may not be designated as a category 1 territory if the death penalty is retained as a punishment under the general criminal law of that country.

Clause 2: Part 1 warrant and certificate

18.     This clause sets out the arrangements for certifying a Part 1 warrant when it is received by the designated authority (defined below).

19.     Subsection (2) defines a Part 1 warrant as an arrest warrant which has been issued by an authority in the relevant category 1 country. It must contain either the statement given in subsection (3) and the information in subsection (4), or the statement given in subsection (5) and the information in subsection (6).

20.     The subsection (3) statement must state that the person in question is accused in the territory issuing the warrant of the commission of a specified offence and that the warrant has been issued for the purposes of arrest and prosecution. The information required by subsection (4) is:

  • details of the person's identity;

  • details of any other warrant relating to the same offence issued in the requesting country;

  • details of the circumstances surrounding the alleged commission of the offence, including the person's alleged conduct and where and when the offence allegedly took place;

  • details of the sentence which could be imposed if the person is ultimately convicted of the offence.

21.     The subsection (5) statement must state that the person is unlawfully at large after conviction of a specified offence by a court in the territory issuing the warrant, and that the warrant has been issued for the purposes of his being sentenced or serving a custodial sentence in respect of that offence. The information required by subsection (6) is:

  • details of the person's identity;

  • details of the conviction;

  • details of any other warrant relating to the same offence issued in the requesting country;

  • where the person has not yet been sentenced for the offence, details of the sentence which could be imposed if the person is ultimately convicted of the offence;

  • where the person has already been sentenced for the offence, details of the sentence which has been imposed.

22.     Subsection (7) gives the designated authority power to issue a certificate if it believes that the Part 1 warrant has been issued by a judicial authority in the category 1 territory, and that the authority in question has the function of issuing arrest warrants in that territory. Subsection (8) requires the certificate to state that the warrant has been issued by a judicial authority in the issuing state, and that the authority has the function referred to in subsection (7). Under subsection (11), where a Part 1 warrant is issued before 1st January 2004, the requirement that the issuing authority be a "judicial" authority does not apply. This provision is needed to accommodate "alerts" issued via the Schengen Information System, an existing system established by the 1990 Convention which implements the Schengen Agreement of 14th June 1985. Although an "alert" must be issued on the basis of an existing domestic arrest warrant, it is not necessarily issued by a judicial authority. Alerts will not continue to be issued after 1st January 2004.

23.     Subsection (9) defines the designated authority as being the authority that has been specified by Order in Council to perform this role. Subsection (10) enables more than one authority to be designated and enables an Order in Council to specify authorities for different parts of the UK. (The authority for the UK is intended to be the National Criminal Intelligence Service and, additionally in Scotland only, the Crown Office.)

Clause 3: Arrest under certified Part 1 Warrant

24.     This clause sets out the procedure for arrest on the basis of a certified Part 1 warrant.

25.     Subsection (2) provides that an arrest on the basis of a Part 1 warrant can be made by a police constable or customs officer anywhere in the United Kingdom. A warrant can also be executed by a service policeman, but only if the person arrested is subject to the relevant service law, and in a place where the service policeman would have the authority to arrest the person under that law (subsections (3), (4) and (6)). The arresting officer need not have the warrant in his possession at the time of arrest in order to make that arrest (subsection (5)).

Clause 4: Person arrested under Part 1 warrant

26.     This clause applies when a person has been arrested under the powers conferred in clause 3 (subsection (1)).

27.     Subsection (2) requires a copy of the warrant to be shown to the arrested person, if it was not shown to him at the time of his arrest, as soon as is practicable thereafter, at his request. Subsection (3) requires the arrested person to be brought before the appropriate judge (defined in clause 66) as soon as practicable. If these requirements are not met the arrested person must be taken to be discharged (subsection (4)). A person is considered to be in legal custody until he is brought before the judge or discharged (subsection (5)).

Clause 5: Provisional arrest

28.     This clause sets out the procedure for arrest where there are reasonable grounds to believe that a Part 1 warrant has been, or shortly will be, issued by a recognised authority in a category 1 territory.

29.     Subsection (1) describes who may make an arrest in these circumstances. As with an arrest under clause 3, a constable or a customs officer may make a provisional arrest anywhere in the United Kingdom. A service policeman may arrest a person who is subject to the relevant service law, in a place where he would have the authority to arrest that person under that law (subsections (2) to (5)).

Clause 6: Person arrested under clause 5

30.     This clause applies when a person has been arrested under the powers conferred in clause 5 (subsection (1)).

31.     Subsection (2) requires any person provisionally arrested to be brought, within 48 hours of arrest (subsection (3)), before the appropriate judge. Specific documents must also be produced to the judge within this period, being the relevant Part 1 warrant and certificate (as described in clause 2) (subsection (4)).

32.     If these requirements are not met the arrested person must be taken to be discharged (subsection (5)). A person is considered to be in legal custody until he is brought before the judge or discharged (subsection (6)).

Clause 7: Identity of person arrested

33.     This clause requires the judge to establish that the person brought before him is the person in respect of whom the warrant was issued.

34.     Subsection (1) explains that this clause applies where a person who has been arrested, either under a Part 1 warrant or provisionally, is brought before the judge. Subsection (2) requires the judge to decide if the person brought before him is the person in respect of whom the warrant was issued. The judge is required to make this decision on the balance of probabilities (subsection (3)). If the judge decides the person brought before him is not the person in respect of whom the warrant was issued, then he must order his discharge (subsection (4)). If the judge decides the person brought before him is the person in respect of whom the warrant was issued, then he must proceed under the provisions of clause 8 (subsection (5)).

35.     Subsection (6) gives the judge the same powers as a magistrates' court would have if the proceedings were a summary trial in England and Wales. In Scotland the judge is to have the same powers as if the proceedings were summary proceedings (subsection (7)). In Northern Ireland the judge has the same powers as a magistrates' court would have if the proceedings were the hearing and determination of a complaint (subsection (8)). These powers include the power to adjourn the proceedings. If the judge does adjourn the proceedings he must remand the arrested person on bail or in custody (subsection (9)). If he remands the person in custody he may subsequently grant him bail (subsection (10)).

Clause 8: Remand etc.

36.     This clause deals with the arrangements for the remand of the arrested person and the judges duty to inform the person of the contents of the warrant, and to explain that the person may consent to his extradition.

37.     Subsection (1) requires the judge to:

  • fix a date for the extradition hearing. The date must be within 21 days of arrest (subsection (4)). This period can be extended by the judge in exceptional circumstances (subsection (5)). If the hearing does not begin on or before the fixed date, and no reasonable cause is shown for the delay, then the judge must order the person's discharge (subsections (6) to (8));

  • inform the person of the contents of the warrant;

  • give the person the required information about consent. This is outlined below;

  • remand the person in custody or on bail. The judge may also grant bail to a person originally remanded in custody (subsection (2)).

38.     Under subsection (3) the required information about consent is:

  • that the person may consent to his extradition;

  • an explanation of the effect of giving consent and the procedure that will apply (this is explained in clause 44);

  • that consent must be given before the judge and is irrevocable.

Clause 9: Judge's powers at extradition hearing

39.     The clause provides for the powers available to the judge at the extradition hearing under this Part of the Bill.

40.     The powers available to the judge at an extradition hearing in England & Wales are as nearly as possible the same as those available to a magistrates' court at a summary trial in England and Wales. In Scotland the judge has the same powers as if the proceedings were summary proceedings; in Northern Ireland the judge has the same powers as a magistrates' court would have in the hearing and determination of a complaint (subsections (1) to (3)). The judge therefore has the power to adjourn the hearing and remand a person in custody or on bail (subsections (4) and (5)).

Clause 10: Initial stage of extradition hearing

41.     This clause requires the judge to consider whether the offence specified in the warrant is an extradition offence, where a person is brought before him at an extradition hearing under this Part of the Bill.

42.     If the judge is satisfied that the offence is an extradition offence then he must proceed to consider whether there are any statutory bars to extradition (subsection (4)), under the provisions of clause 11. If the judge decides that the offence is not an extradition offence then he must order the person's discharge (subsection (3)).

Clause 11: Bars to extradition

43.     This clause establishes a number of statutory bars to extradition. The judge must consider whether any of these bars prevent the extradition of the person. The person must be discharged if any of the bars are applicable.

44.     The bars are:

  • the rule against double jeopardy;

  • extraneous considerations;

  • the passage of time;

  • the person's age;

  • hostage-taking considerations;

  • speciality;

  • the person's earlier extradition to the United Kingdom from another category 1 territory;

  • the person's earlier extradition to the United Kingdom from a non-category 1 territory.

45.     Clauses 12 to 19 explain what is meant by each bar (subsection (2)). Subsection (3) requires the judge to order the person's discharge if any of the bars in subsection (1) apply. If the judge decides that none of the statutory bars apply, and the person is accused of being unlawfully at large after conviction (described in these notes as being a "conviction case") then the judge must proceed under clause 20 (subsection (4)). If the judge decides that none of the bars apply, and the person is accused of having committed the extradition offence (described in these notes as being an "accusation case"), then subsection (5) requires that the judge proceed to consider human rights issues under clause 21.

Clause 12: Rule against double jeopardy

46.     The effect of this clause is to bar the extradition of a person if he would be entitled to be discharged if charged with the offence in question in the part of the United Kingdom where the judge exercises jurisdiction, because of rules of law relating to a previous acquittal or conviction.

Clause 13: Extraneous considerations

47.     The effect of this clause is to bar a person's extradition if it appears that the Part 1 warrant has been issued for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing him for reasons of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions. His extradition would also be barred if it appears that he would be prejudiced at trial, or his liberty restricted, for any of the same reasons.

Clause 14: Passage of time

48.     The effect of this clause is to bar the extradition of a person where it appears that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite him because of the time which has passed since he is alleged to have committed the extradition offence, or since he is alleged to have become unlawfully at large.

Clause 15: Age

49.     The effect of this clause is to bar the extradition of a person who would have been under the age of criminal responsibility, had the offence occurred in the part of the United Kingdom where the hearing is taking place, at the time the extradition offence was committed.

Clause 16: Hostage-taking considerations

50.     A person's extradition is barred if the category 1 territory requesting extradition is a party to the Hostage-taking Convention and certain conditions apply. These are that if extradited communication between the person and the appropriate (consular) authorities would not be possible and the conduct constituting an extradition offence would constitute an offence under section 1 of the Taking of Hostages Act 1982 or an attempt to commit such an offence (subsection (1)).

51.     Subsections (2) to (4) make interpretative provision relating to the hostage-taking bar to surrender.

Clause 17: Speciality

52.     The speciality rule is a long-standing protection in extradition. It prohibits a person from being prosecuted after his extradition for an offence committed before his extradition,, unless the offence is that in respect of which he was extradited, the consent of the requested state is obtained or the person has had an opportunity to leave the country to which he was extradited.

53.     The effect of this clause is to bar extradition if there are no speciality arrangements with the category 1 territory where the Part 1 warrant was issued (subsection (1)).

54.     Subsection (2) provides that there are considered to be speciality arrangements in place if a person may be dealt with in the requesting territory for an offence committed before his extradition only if the offence falls within subsection (3) or if the condition in subsection (4) is met. The offences in subsection (3) are:

  • the offences for which the person was extradited;

  • an extradition offence disclosed by the same facts as the offence;

  • an extradition offence to which the appropriate judge has given consent under clause 54;

  • an offence not punishable by imprisonment or detention;

  • an offence for which the person will not be detained in connection with his trial, sentence or appeal;

  • an offence in respect of which the person has waived his speciality protection.

55.     The condition in subsection (4) is that the person is given the opportunity to leave the category 1 territory and does not do so within 45 days (subsection (5)) or leaves within that period and then returns to that country.

56.     Under subsection (6) speciality arrangements may be made with any Commonwealth country or British overseas territory in category 1. This could be for a specific case or general arrangements. A certificate issued by or under the authority of the Secretary of State, stating the existence and terms of such arrangements, is conclusive evidence of those matters.

Clause 18: Earlier extradition to United Kingdom from category 1 territory

57.     A person's extradition to a category 1 territory is barred by reason of his earlier extradition to the United Kingdom from another category 1 territory (the extraditing territory), unless consent to his further extradition has been given on behalf of the extraditing territory. This applies only if the extradition arrangements between the United Kingdom and the extraditing territory require consent to be given.

 
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