Extradition from the UK: Extradition Act 2003 - part 1

Part 1 of the 2003 Act implemented the framework decision on the European arrest warrant (EAW). The Secretary of State has no role in these proceedings.

Extradition Partners under the EAW

Territories designated as category 1 territories as of 2 August 2007 are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

A copy of the Statutory Instruments (SIs) designating these territories as category 1 territories can be found on the Office of Public Sector Information website. The relevant SIs are: 2003 No. 3333; 2004 No. 1898; 2005 Nos. 365 and 2036; 2006 No. 3451 and 2007 No. 2238.

Extradition Requests

Under the 2003 Act, extradition requests from category 1 territories should be made to the designated authority, which is the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), or if the person is known to be in Scotland, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

In urgent cases it is possible for a requested person to be arrested prior to the receipt of an extradition request. The EAW with accompanying translation, where appropriate, must be received in time for a court hearing to be held within 48 hours of the arrest.


The designated authority may issue a certificate if the warrant has been issued by a judicial authority in the requesting territory. If the warrant is certified then the requested person is arrested and brought before a court. The documentation can only be certified if the requirements of section 2 of the 2003 Act are met. In cases where the requested person has been convicted, the documentation must make it clear that the person is “unlawfully at large”, i.e. has been convicted and is liable to immediate arrest and detention.

Initial hearing

At the initial hearing after a person's arrest, the District Judge must confirm, on the balance of probabilities, the identity of the requested person; inform the person about the procedures for consent; and fix a date for the extradition hearing if the requested person chooses not to consent to his or her extradition.

Extradition hearing

The extradition hearing should normally take place within 21 days of arrest.

If the judge is satisfied that the conduct amounts to an extradition offence and that none of the bars to extradition apply (the rule against double jeopardy; extraneous considerations; passage of time; the person’s age; hostage-taking considerations; speciality; the person’s earlier extradition), he is required to decide whether the person’s extradition would be compatible with the convention rights within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998.

If the judge decides that question in the affirmative, he must order the person to be extradited.

Dual Criminality Test

The framework decision contains a list of 32 categories of offence for which the 'dual criminality' test is not needed. The offence must carry a maximum sentence of at least 3 years in the issuing state.

If the conduct for which extradition is sought is not covered by one of these list offences, then the conduct must be an offence in both the issuing and executing states. Also, if any of the conduct for which extradition is sought was carried out outside the issuing state, the conduct must be an offence in both the issuing and executing states.

Appeals against extradition

An appeal against extradition must be lodged within 7 days of a person’s extradition being ordered.

High Court

The requested person may appeal to the High Court if the judge orders his extradition. The issuing territory may appeal against the discharge of the person by the judge at the extradition hearing.

Supreme Court

The decision of the High Court may be appealed against in the Supreme Court by either the requested person or the issuing territory, provided that leave to appeal has been given by either the High Court or the Supreme Court. An appeal to the Supreme Court can only be made on a point of law of general public importance and where it is agreed by the High Court that the point is one which should be considered by the Supreme Court. Please refer to section 32 of the 2003 Act for further information.


The person in respect of whom extradition has been ordered should normally be extradited within 10 days of the final court order. If there are exceptional circumstances, and with the agreement of the Issuing State, this time-limit can be extended.

Further information

For more information, email the extradition policy team.

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