Extradition to the UK (outgoing requests): Extradition Act 2003 part 3

Information about part 3 of the Extradition Act 2003.

What is an outgoing extradition request?

Under part 3 of the Extradition Act 2003, extradition requests to EU Member States are now dealt with under the EAW procedure. Other outgoing extradition requests are made under the Crown prerogative. They can be made to any country but almost all are made to the UK’s existing extradition partners in accordance with the relevant multilateral or bilateral arrangements.

The Home Office receives extradition papers from the relevant domestic prosecuting authority. The papers are then sealed and authenticated by the Home Office and forwarded to the relevant authority in the requested state (where the requested person is believed to be).

Who submits the requests?

The Home Office certifies and forwards extradition requests prepared by prosecuting authorities in England and Wales and Northern Ireland to the British Embassy/High Commission in the requested state.

The main prosecuting authorities that the Home Office receives outgoing requests from are:

The Home Office has also occasionally received outgoing extradition requests from local authorities (County Councils) in relation to Trademark and Copyright offences. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service deals with Scottish outgoing extradition requests. Extradition requests made by most of the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories to foreign countries are submitted through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Submitting outgoing requests to diplomatic posts

All outgoing extradition requests must be submitted via diplomatic channels, i.e. the Home Office must forward the papers on to the British Embassy/High Commission in the requested state. The Embassy/High Commission will then issue a diplomatic note formally requesting the extradition and forward the note with the extradition papers to the relevant authorities in the requested state.

As with extradition requests made to the UK, an outgoing extradition request may either be a Full Order or provisional arrest request:

  • Full Order request is submitted to the relevant authorities in the requested state prior to the arrest of the requested person. A Full Order request will be submitted where the requested person is believed to be settled in the requested state.
  • Provisional Arrest will be made where a requested person is believed to be in one country but is regarded as a flight risk (i.e. they may imminently move to another country). The police or prosecuting authority will liaise with Interpol London, who will issue a request for the arrest of the requested person to the corresponding Interpol office in the requested state. The provisional arrest will be carried out before extradition papers are formally submitted to the requested state. When a requested person is provisionally arrested there will be a deadline within which the papers must be submitted to the relevant authorities of the requested state. This deadline is set out in the relevant treaty that governs extradition arrangements with that state. It is then necessary for the Home Office to liaise with the relevant prosecuting authority in England and Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that the papers are delivered within sufficient time for the Home Office to dispatch them.

Returning a requested person to the United Kingdom

Once the relevant procedures in the requested state have been completed, extradition has been ordered and all avenues of appeal have been exhausted then the requested person will be available for surrender. The Home Office will be notified by the UK’s Embassy/High Commission via the diplomatic channel, or the police will be notified by Interpol. The police officers concerned are responsible for making arrangements for the collection and escort of the requested person to the United Kingdom, and are usually from the force where the original arrest warrant (included in the extradition papers) was issued.

The escorting officers should contact the Home Office for a letter of introduction, which enables the escorting officers to bring back the requested person, and the Home Office will forward the officers’ travel arrangements to the relevant UK Embassy/High Commission. The escorting officers will usually notify the Home Office when the requested person has been returned to the United Kingdom. On their return to the United Kingdom, the requested person is dealt with in the courts in the same way as any accused person. In cases where the requested person has already been convicted, they are returned to serve the remainder of their sentence.

Special arrangements

In the absence of a formal extradition treaty with a particular country, it may still be possible to make an extradition request where a requested person is known to be in that country. In such cases the Home Office would liaise with the relevant authorities in that country, via the FCO, in order to establish whether their domestic law allows for extradition where there is no treaty and what documentation is required. Sometimes, the domestic extradition law of the requested state requires that a special one off arrangement is in place before an extradition request can be processed. This may, therefore involve negotiating what is effectively a mini-treaty for the extradition of the individual known as a “special arrangement”.

It may also be possible to make an extradition request to a country with which the United Kingdom has no extradition arrangement for certain serious offences if the requested state has ratified a number of international conventions.  A list of the territories designated for these purposes under this section, together with the conventions they have been designated under, 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.

Extradition of own nationals

The United Kingdom will, as a matter of policy, extradite its own nationals, providing other bars to extradition do not apply.  Some countries’ legislation does not permit them to extradite their own nationals.  In most cases those countries have extensive extra-territorial jurisdiction provisions in place, and although they will not extradite their own nationals may often be prepared to prosecute them on behalf of the United Kingdom, if requested to do so.  Such requests should be passed through the Home Office for onward transmission to the prosecuting authorities of the relevant state.

Further information

For more information, email the extradition policy team.

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