This page outlines the main stages and procedures in extradition requests made to the United Kingdom.
On 1 January 2004, the Extradition Act 2003 came into force. Requests made on or after 1 January 2004 are dealt with under the 2003 Act.
However, with the exception of Gibraltar (see sidebar link to part 1), unless or until the Crown dependencies and British Overseas Territories amend their legislation, the Extradition Act 1989 (the legislation repealed by the Extradition Act 2003) will still apply to them. Currently, only Jersey has enacted its own extradition legislation.
On 15 January 2007, certain amendments to the 2003 Act were given effect in the UK by Schedule 13 of the Police and Justice Act 2006. Further amendments to the 2003 Act were given effect on 12 November 2009 by Part 6 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009.
This guide does not explain the extradition procedures for Scotland which, because of its separate legal system, are slightly different from those for the rest of the United Kingdom. A separate guide to Scottish procedures is available on the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal website. Northern Ireland’s extradition proceedings are broadly similar to those for England and Wales, and are administered by the Home Office and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).
The United Kingdom has extradition relations with more than 100 territories by way of multilateral extradition conventions or agreements, or under bilateral extradition treaties. The 2003 Act makes provision for two schemes of extradition.
First, under the 2003 Act, EU Member States who have implemented the Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States are designated for the purposes of extradition by order made under part 1 of the Act. They are category 1 territories. Details regarding part 1 of the Act can be found on the relevant page (see sidebar).
Secondly, other territories with whom the United Kingdom has extradition relations have been designated by order made under part 2 of the 2003 Act. They are category 2 territories. Details regarding part 2 of the Act can be found on the relevant page (see sidebar).
The UK can also have extradition relations with parties to international conventions relating to specific very serious crimes, of which the UK is also a signatory. This is provided for within section 193 of the Extradition Act 2003. A list of the territories designated by order made under this section, together with the conventions to which they are signatories, can be found in Statutory Instrument 2005 No. 46, which can be found on the Office of Public Sector Information website. This Statutory Instrument is in the process of being updated. Part 2 of the Act applies to requests made with these provisions (subject to certain amendments which are specified in section 193).
Section 194 of the Act also provides for the negotiation of a special arrangement for extradition of an individual with states with which no other extradition provisions exist. Part 2 of the Act applies to requests made with these provisions, which are only rarely used.
The state requesting extradition is generally represented before the courts in England and Wales by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). It may therefore be beneficial for Issuing States to approach the CPS prior to the submission of a request to seek advice on the content or format of any request (and supporting documents) that they intend to submit. Alternatively, requesting territories may wish to instruct their own legal representatives whom they may wish to consult for advice before making a request.
The coalition government's 'Programme for Government' document, published on 20 May 2010, stated that, 'We will review the operation of the Extradition Act – and the US/UK extradition treaty – to make sure it is even-handed.'
On 8 September 2010, the Home Secretary commissioned an independent review of the UK’s extradition arrangements. The review was led by the Rt Hon Sir Scott Baker, a former appeal court judge, assisted by David Perry QC and Anand Doobay, two lawyers with expertise in extradition matters. The report was published on 18 October 2011.
The government will now carefully examine the review panel’s findings and will announce what action it will take in due course.
For more information, contact ExtraditionPolicySection@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk