Extradition - Contacts for help with extradition requests

Legal Guidance, International and organised crime

2. Contacts for help with Extradition Requests

2.1 Crown Prosecution Service

Areas and Central Casework Divisions have appointed extradition "champions" who are responsible for providing practical advice on European Arrest Warrant import cases and are able to assist within each Area/Division. A link to the list of local champions can be found in Annex A(ii). The lawyers in the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division's Extradition Unit are able to assist with queries relating to extradition from non-EU states and more complex queries on EAWs that cannot be resolved by the Area Champions. 

2.2 Liaison Magistrates

The CPS has experienced prosecutors working in France, Italy, Spain, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and the USA. Known as liaison magistrates or prosecutors, their function is to facilitate extradition and mutual legal assistance between the host country and the UK. Those based in Europe are fluent in the official language of their host country. If uncertain as to any aspect of an extradition request with these countries, advice can be sought directly from the relevant liaison magistrate / prosecutor.

2.3 Interpol, NCA Fugitives Unit and the police

Interpol is the world's largest international police organisation with almost 200 member countries. The General Secretariat is located in Lyon, France, and each member country maintains a National Central Bureau which is the designated contact point for other member countries requiring assistance with overseas investigations and the location and apprehension of fugitives. In the UK Interpol's National Central Bureau function is performed by NCA International Crime Bureau (also commonly referred to as NCA International).

This designated central authority is based within NCA International Crime Bureau and is known as the Fugitives Unit. Its role is to assist competent judicial authorities under Article 7(2) of the Council Framework Decision of 13th June 2002 on the EAW.

Once a Crown Prosecutor has had the EAW signed by the judicial authority (a magistrate, district or Crown Court judge), the prosecutor must send the signed warrant electronically to the Fugitives Unit, who will oversee the translation of the warrant (as necessary) and its transmission to other Member States.

The Fugitives Unit can provide information to prosecutors as to whether or not an arrest has been made pursuant to the warrant, and if it has, the state of proceedings in the executing Member State.

The International Assistance Unit of the Metropolitan Unit produces a web site containing useful information relating to overseas enquiries, including extradition, especially from the perspective of an investigator. Investigators should be encouraged to make use of this resource.

2.4 Home Office International Criminality Unit

The International Criminality Unit of the Home Office is responsible for the transmission of extradition requests to countries which do not operate the EAW scheme. This is because, unlike EAWs which are requests made between judicial authorities, requests for extradition to non-EAW countries are requests from one state to another.
The International Criminality Unit will liaise with the requested country and provide letters of introduction for police officers who collect the requested person if extradition is ordered.

2.5 Eurojust

Based at The Hague in the Netherlands, Eurojust is a European Union body created in 2002 that comprises a college of prosecutors and judges nominated by each Member State.

Eurojust was set up with the following formal objectives:

  • Improvement of judicial co-operation between competent authorities in Member States
  • Facilitating co-ordination of cross-border investigations and prosecutions
  • Facilitating the exchange of information between Member States
  • Recommending changes in laws to improve mutual legal assistance and extradition arrangements

Within the above remit the UK Eurojust team may be able to assist with EAW related queries, including requests relating to dual criminality of UK offences in other Member States.

2.6 Council of the European Union

The Council of the European Union provides an excellent website which includes the following information:

  • National legislation - the domestic legislation whereby the EAW Framework Decision was implemented in each Member State
  • Practical application - includes a guide ('fiche') by each Member States on the system in their country, and also 'notifications' which includes implementation dates
  • Languages - the EAW in various languages of Member States
  • Evaluation reports - detailed evaluation reports on individual Member States regarding the practical application of the EAW scheme in these states

2.7 National Offender Management Service

NOMs can provide advice and practical assistance on issues involving the return of sentenced prisoners and the transfer of sentences generally.

2.8 European Judicial Network (EJN)

The EJN was established in 1998 to facilitate closer co-operation in criminal matters between EU member states. It comprises an informal network of in excess of 200 individuals EU-wide who have been designated by their country as Contact Points, the majority of whom are English speakers. They are generally located in authorities with responsibility for judicial co-operation (e.g. Ministries of Justice or prosecuting authorities). The function of each contact point is:

  • to assist authorities in other Member States who have queries relating to the criminal justice system of the contact point's country, both legal and practical queries
  • to channel similar requests by the authorities in their own country to contact points in other Member States

The EJN website at http://www.ejn-crimjust.europa.eu includes a variety of 'tools' relating to both the EAW and to mutual legal assistance.

EJN guides / tools relating to the EAW:  Annex E(ii)

Further reading