Today, the House of Lords’ (HoL) Select Committee on Extradition published its report on its assessment of the Extradition Act 2003.

The committee found that there is “no systemic problem with the UK’s extradition regime” and went ahead to make the following points/recommendations:

  • The assurances aimed at countering the risk of human rights abuses during the course of extradition are not sufficient to ensure that the UK is meeting its human rights obligations.
  • It is too soon to say whether the proportionality bar and forum bar- changes made to the Extradition Act in recent years- have actually been able to limit abuses. The proportionality bar which prevents the use of European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) for trivial purposes, while the forum bar which allows extradition to be challenged on the basis that prosecution should be in the UK. However, the legal possibility of presenting forum arguments on human rights grounds means that they could be necessary factors in the impact of extradition on criminals who are not fugitives.
  • Legal aid should be awarded automatically in extradition cases, and should not be means tested.
  • The EAW system for EU member states has sometimes been overused, and even misused. Changes should be made at UK and EU level to ensure that this tool aimed at preventing cross-border crime is the tool of last, rather than first resort.
  • The impact of extradition on those involved should be softened as much as possible, especially if they have not been convicted. This can be done by providing robust information about the process or even negotiating that they be returned to the initial country on bail pre-trial.

The full report can be viewed here:  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldselect/ldextradition/126/126.pdf

More information about the committee’s work can be seen here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/extradition-law/news/extradition-report-publication/