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Export Extradition - Part 2 Cases

Role of Home Office

For requests from category 2 territories the Judicial Co-Operation Unit (JCU) is the designated central authority. Upon receipt of a request the Home Secretary, acting on the advice of the JCU, must decide whether to certify the request.

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Role of CPS

The CPS acts as the representative for the requesting territory in the proceedings before English courts. All export extradition cases where the person is arrested in England and Wales are dealt with at Bow Street Magistrates' Court in London.

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Arrest on a Certified Request

Once the Home Secretary has issued a certificate, if the person has not been provisionally arrested, the police may apply to Bow Street Magistrates' Court for an arrest warrant. Once the person has been arrested they must be produced at Bow Street Magistrates' Court as soon as practicable.

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Provisional Arrest

In circumstances of urgency the requesting territory may ask the police to apply for an arrest warrant before the request has been certified. This is known as a provisional warrant. A police or customs officer may execute it. Once arrested, the person must be produced at Bow Street Magistrates' Court as soon as practicable.

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Initial Hearing Following Arrest on a Certified Request

This is conducted in front of a District Judge who must:

  • Inform the person about the content of the extradition request.
  • Explain to the person that he/she may consent to return.
  • Fix a date for the start of the extradition hearing. This must be no more than 2 months from the date of the first appearance.
  • Decide whether to grant bail or remand the person in custody pending the extradition hearing.

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Initial Hearing Following Provisional Arrest

This is conducted in front of a District Judge who must:

  • Tell the person why he/she has been arrested.
  • Explain to the person that he/she may consent to return.
  • Decide whether to grant bail or remand the person in custody pending receipt of the certified extradition request.

The District Judge discharges the person if the certified request is not received by the court within the required period. This will be a minimum of 45 days from arrest but may be longer depending upon the particular extradition treaty or convention.

Once the certified request is received the District Judge must fix a date for the extradition hearing. This hearing must take place within 2 months of the receipt of the certified request.

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Extradition Hearing

At the Extradition Hearing the District Judge must:

  • Decide whether the documentation sent to the Court by the Home Secretary complies with the Act.
  • Decide whether the individual arrested is the person named on the warrant.
  • Decide whether the offence detailed in the request is an extradition offence.
  • Be satisfied that the person has been given copies of the request, the Home Secretary's certificate and any relevant Order in Council.
  • Decide whether any of the bars to extradition apply.
  • Be satisfied that the request contains admissible evidence of the offence sufficient to establish a prima facie case against the person. This requirement does not apply in respect of extradition requests from the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Decide whether the extradition would be compatible with the person's rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

If the District Judge is satisfied on all these issues they must send the case to the Home Secretary who decides whether to order extradition.

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Extradition Decision

The Home Secretary must order extradition within 2 months unless any of the following grounds apply:

  • The person has been/could be/will be sentenced to death;
  • There are no speciality arrangements in force with the requesting territory (these ensure that the person extradited will only be dealt with for those matters in respect of which his extradition is ordered); and
  • If the person has been extradited to the UK they cannot be extradited to another country without the consent of the country they were originally extradited from.

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Appeals against the decisions of the District Judge and/or the Home Secretary go to the Administrative Court. Notice of appeals must be given within 14 days of the decision. The Administrative Court must start to hear the appeal within 76 days of the notice. It is possible to appeal from the Administrative Court to the House of Lords, but this can only happen if the Administrative Court certifies that the appeal involves a point of law of general public importance and either the Administrative Court or the House of Lords grants leave to appeal.

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If no notice of appeal is filed within 14 days of the Secretary of State informing the person of his decision, the person must be extradited to the requesting territory within 28 days of the Home Secretary's order for extradition. Where there has been an appeal, extradition must take place within 28 days of the conclusion of the appeal proceedings, assuming that the outcome of the appeal does not affect the extradition order.

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Requests made when there are existing domestic matters

If an extradition request is made for a defendant who has already been charged with an offence in the UK, he can only be extradited once the domestic proceedings have concluded and any sentence subsequently imposed has been served.

If the defendant has already been convicted and is serving a sentence of imprisonment in the UK the extradition proceedings may either be postponed until the defendant has completed his sentence or, if the purpose of the extradition is so that he can stand trial in the requesting country, an order may be made for his temporary extradition. This can only happen if the requesting country undertakes to return the defendant at the conclusion of his trial in order to serve the remainder of his UK sentence. Once the domestic sentence has been completed there will be further proceedings to determine if the defendant should then be extradited back to the requesting country to serve any sentence imposed as the result of the foreign trial. Although permitted by UK law, some international extradition agreements do not permit temporary surrender.

Further details about the Extradition Act 2003 can be found on the Home Office website -

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Return to Extradition fact sheet