On 16 July 2018, the Divisional Court (Gross LJ and Nicol J) quashed an extradition order made by District Judge Snow on 11 August 2016.
Rebecca Hill represented one of two Appellants; a married couple wanted by Italy to face allegations of people trafficking offences.
The Appellants argued that the district judge had been wrong to conclude that the warrants contained sufficient particulars of the allegations against them. The Divisional Court agreed. In allowing the appeal, Nicol J stated that “nothing about these warrants is straightforward” and that the warrants were “extremely difficult to follow”. There had been a “wholesale failure” to comply with the basic obligation to provide the Appellants with an adequate description of the offending, as required by section 2(4)(c) of the Extradition Act 2003.
This decision is important as it comes in the wake of a series of Divisional Court decisions which have diminished the formerly strict protections offered by s2 of the Extradition Act 2003 (see for example Alexander v France and FK v Germany). In particular, those authorities reversed the long-standing principle that additional information cannot be adduced to ‘eke out’ and correct an otherwise invalid warrant and further afforded Judicial Authorities the opportunity to bolster their positions with fresh evidence on appeal. Importantly, in this case the High Court refused to allow the Italian authorities to adduce such further information as it concluded that it went beyond merely clarifying a lacuna in the warrant and secondly, whilst it may have supported an extradition order in the case, it in fact undermined the reasoning of the District Judge. The Court made clear that the burden was on the Judicial Authority to provide any necessary information at first instance.
The full decision can be read here.
Rebecca Hill is an experienced criminal advocate with specialist expertise in extradition and a strong interest in human rights and their engagement within the criminal justice system.
Rebecca is ranked in Chambers and Partners as a band 2 leader in the field of Extradition at the London Bar (2012 - 2017). Rebecca is ranked as a Band 2 leading individual in the Legal 500 in the field of International Crime and Extradition.