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Leading Extradition Law Solicitors
Extradition is the legal means by which those suspected or convicted of crimes abroad are sought.
It is rooted in the notion that different countries share a mutual interest in ensuring that suspected or convicted criminals are not able to escape sanction by fleeing abroad.
Extradition is founded upon the principle of reciprocity - the mutual agreement to recognise requests to apprehend and surrender wanted persons.
Arrangements for extradition were historically agreed bilaterally, echoing the ebb and flow of international relations.
Where extradition treaties existed, requests were typically made through political, rather than legal channels, raising concerns as to the potential for political interference, or other forms of abuse.
What is an Extradition Request?
An extradition request is a request from one jurisdiction to another for the arrest and surrender of an identified individual.
In 2002, European member states agreed to harmonise the rules governing extradition. The European Arrest Warrant Scheme was introduced with the aim of simplifying the system of extradition by applying the same rules across Europe. Requests for extradition were to be made exclusively between ‘judicial authorities’, not politicians.
This agreement was incorporated into U.K. law by the Extradition Act 2003.
The rules established by the 2003 Act prevail … for now!
The 2003 Extradition Act distinguishes between requests for extradition from signatories to the European Arrest Warrant scheme on the one hand, and, on the other, requests from the rest of the world.
What to do if you suspect there is an extradition request for you?
Challenging a request for extradition requires specialist knowledge and expertise. Instructing the right solicitors early in the process is essential to achieving the most favourable possible outcome.
Our Extradition law solicitors, based in central London, have many years of combined experience and can advise on the most strategic approach to your matter. We can also help to prevent an extradition request being made in the first place.
With the National Legal Service extradition team on your side, you can be assured of specialist advice and fearless representation every step of the way.
Why choose National Legal Service Solicitors for your extradition law matters?
Our extradition lawyers have successfully prevented the extradition of clients wanted all over Europe. We have defeated dozens of requests from Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Lithuania and Hungary, to name but a few examples.
For instance, we have, in the last three months successfully prevented the extradition of clients sought in Sweden, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and Lithuania.
We also represent clients wanted in non-EU countries. People we have represented have been wanted in countries ranging from Australia and Albania to Peru and the United States.
Our Extradition Law Solicitors have most recently prevented extradition in the following cases:
- A father wanted to serve a prison sentence in Bulgaria for supplying drugs;
- A Lithuanian man wanted to serve a lengthy prison sentence in his home country. We have prevented his extradition on three occasions: 2012, 2018 and, most recently, in January 2020;
- A victim of human trafficking wanted in Poland to serve a suspended sentence activated after he failed to stay in touch with his probation officer;
- A single mother who had suffered severe domestic violence and coercive behaviour at the hands of her estranged husband wanted in Sweden for abducting her own children;
- A young British woman wanted in Germany for the theft of high-value items;
- A vulnerable Polish man who had unwittingly become involved in a large-scale tax fraud;
- A Romanian man wanted in his home country for offences committed in Montenegro;
- A professional single Polish man wanted in his home country for drug offences committed as a student;
- A British mother wanted in Spain in connection with a large-scale telecoms fraud;
- A Bulgarian man wanted to serve a lengthy prison sentence in his home country;
- A German man wanted to face trial for complex fraud offences.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation with one of our specialist extradition solicitors, call us on 020 3601 5051 or 020 3763 6696.
The Future of Extradition
Extradition law is constantly evolving. This can occur because a new interpretation of the law is adopted by the courts, or perhaps because of a change ‘on the ground’ in the requesting state, such as the construction of prisons which comply with basic standards where none previously existed.
Even in the context of this perpetual development in the law, it seems certain that the transformation of the legal landscape in extradition set to take place over the next 12 months or so will be the most significant for nearly 20 years.
In times such as these, it is even more important to have the most up-to-the-minute legal and country-specific knowledge to hand. Our lawyers are constantly reviewing the latest developments in order to ensure that this is always the case.
Whatever the challenges - and opportunities – that lie ahead, the National Legal Service has the experience and specialist knowledge needed to advance the strongest possible case against extradition.
So, if you are, or think you may be the subject of an extradition request, now, or in the future, get in touch for an informal chat.
What happens if there is an extradition request for me?
Most requests from within the European Union are made using the European Arrest Warrant pro forma. Basic checks are made by the National Crime Agency before the warrant is ‘certified’. This means that any police officer in England and Wales can arrest the person subject of the warrant.
Requests from elsewhere in the world take many forms. The request must be reviewed by a District Judge who will decide whether to issue a domestic arrest warrant.
Everyone arrested in England and Wales is taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London. The exact procedure adopted depends on the country making the request for extradition but in every case, the court will set a timetable for the exchange of documents and a date for a ‘full hearing’. At the full hearing, arguments for and against extradition are heard and witnesses may be called.
A full hearing may last an hour or several days, depending on the number of witnesses and the complexity of the issues involved.
Will I be entitled to legal aid?
Many of our clients qualify for legal aid due to being of limited means. Others have qualified because, although their income exceeds the allowable amount, it would not be reasonable to require them to pay for a lawyer privately. We also represent clients on a private basis.
Get in touch to discuss your options.
Legal aid for appeals is not means tested and is normally granted in extradition.
We are also proud of our track record of representing requested persons on a pro bono basis. In many cases, we have secured the discharge of our pro bono clients.
How long does the extradition process take?
Where extradition is contested, most cases last a few months, including any appeal. On the other hand, some of our cases have lasted three years, or even more.
Can I appeal?
Yes. Whatever decision is made in the Magistrates Court, there is a right of appeal to the High Court, subject to satisfying a judge that there is an ‘arguable’ case.
What should I do if I think there might be a request to extradite me?
Contact us straight away if you think there might be an extradition request for you.
We can investigate and speak to the police on your behalf.
We will represent you at the Magistrates’ Court. If you are in custody, we will liaise your family and friends and will prepare the strongest possible bail application.
Our lawyers regularly secure bail for clients wanted in relation to offences ranging in gravity from the smuggling of many tons of class A drugs and complex, high-value fraud, to shoplifting and motoring offences.
Whatever your situation, get in touch for a free consultation.
A selection of some of our notable cases:
Extradition – Westminster Magistrates’ Court (as advocate and litigator):
Bulgaria v D  – Bulgarian prosecutor not a judicial authority – discharged
Lithuania v B  – third (unsuccessful) for extradition - discharged
Poland v L  – proportionality and delay - discharged
Poland v K  – single man; private life – discharged
Spain v C  – U.K. citizen – warrant withdrawn
Germany v S  – U.K. citizen – warrant withdrawn
Germany v VA  – warrant issued for purpose of investigation - discharged
Bulgaria v N  – prison conditions – discharged
Hungary v R  – youth, delay - discharged
Lithuania v Z  – private life, second request – discharged
Romania v F  – validity - discharged (novel points of law identified)
Romania v M  - Validity - discharged (novel points of law identified)
France v B  - Validity; discharged (novel points of law identified)
Slovakia v Z –  - Article 8 & right to retrial; discharged
Romania v G –  - Double jeopardy & abuse; discharged (novel points of law identified)
Romania v C –  - Validity (merged sentences); discharged (novel points of law identified)
Romania v B –  - Validity; discharged (novel points of law identified)
Poland v M –  - Article 8 and the rights of the child; discharged
Poland v P  - Article 8 and the rights of the child; discharged
Bulgaria v A –  - Conviction in absentia and right to retrial; delay; private and family rights; discharged
Poland v P -  - Vulnerable requested person without family in the U.K; right to private life; discharged
Poland v C -  - Vulnerable requested person & partner; right to private and family life; discharged
Poland v S –  - Right to private and family life; culpable delay; discharged
Lithuania v Z –  - Proportionality; private life rights; discharged
Hungary v V -  - Insufficient particulars & validity; discharged (novel points of law identified)
Lithuania v M  – no judicial oversight in the issuance of the EAW; discharged (novel points of law identified)
Lithuania v B –  - no judicial oversight in the issuance of the EAW; discharged (novel points of law identified)
Czech Republic v C  - Validity (domestic warrants); abuse of process; double jeopardy; Article 8 ECHR; discharged (novel points of law identified)
Extradition – Westminster Magistrates’ Court (as litigator):
Australia v M  – delay and injustice (ongoing)
Albania v D  – Article 8 and delay – discharged