If you suspect that an extradition request in your name is on its way, or that INTERPOL might be processing data relating to you, it is important to prepare ahead of time.
Taking pre-emptive legal advice and action may also enable you to avoid receiving an unexpected arrest or warrant or to put in place procedures to maximise your chances of securing bail should the worst happen.
To which countries can the UK extradite you?
Extradition between countries is typically regulated by extradition treaties. Extradition treaties are specific to any two countries and frequently vary in order to accommodate different jurisdictions.
Generally, they are designed to obligate one country (the ‘Requested State’) to arrest and return wanted individuals (the ‘Requested Person’) to a country issuing the request ( the ‘Requesting State’).
It is to be noted that no country in the world has extradition treaties with every other country. Instead, each has its own, specific, and ad hoc list of countries with whom they have signed an extradition treaty.
The United Kingdom (‘UK’) has extradition treaties with over a hundred countries. These are segregated into two lists known as ‘Part 1’ and Part 2’ territories. A comprehensive list of countries may be found here.
Can the UK extradite its own nationals?
The UK will extradite its own nationals, provided no bars to extradition apply. Under the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement ten countries have notified their intention to exercise an absolute bar on extradition of their own nationals to the UK. These countries should not extradite their own nationals to the UK.
What if there is not an extradition treaty in place?
Just because a specific country does not have a treaty with the UK, this does not mean that this country still cannot surrender those accused of, or convicted of, crimes in the UK to face legal consequences in the UK. The lack of a treaty purely alludes to the fact that an official mechanism to extradite is not in place.
In addition to the above, when the UK does not have an extradition treaty with a particular country a Memorandum of Understanding can be agreed between the two countries with regards to a specific Requested Person.
What is the principle of ‘Dual Criminality’?
The principle of ‘Dual Criminality’ is the requirement in international extradition law that the offence the Requested Person is accused of committing or has been convicted of and is required to serve a sentence for, in the Requesting State, is also an offence under domestic law in the state from which extradition is sought.
For example, an individual cannot be extradited from the UK to face trial or serve a sentence for an offence which effectively criminalises homosexuality, because there is no equivalent criminal offence in the UK.
What should I do if I fear an outstanding extradition request?
It is highly recommended that individuals who fear extradition seek expert legal advice. Branch Austin McCormick has experience with extradition and providing proactive legal advice in relation to possible defences to an extradition request.
For further information on the issues raised, please contact Hal Branch or the Corporate & Extradition Team.