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Work of the Ad Hoc Committees in 2014–15: House of Lords Extradition Law Committee

Published Monday, March 13, 2017

This House of Lords Library briefing provides information about the work of the House of Lords Extradition Law Committee; its two reports ('The European Arrest Warrant Opt-In' and 'Extradition: Law and Practice'); its conclusions and recommendations; the government’s responses; and a summary of the debates held on the two reports in the House of Lords.

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On 12 June 2014, the House of Lords Extradition Law Committee was appointed to consider and report on the law and practice relating to extradition, in particular the Extradition Act 2003. The Committee published two reports. On 10 November 2014, the Committee published a short report, The European Arrest Warrant Opt-In, and, on 10 March 2015, published its main report Extradition: Law and Practice. The Government published its response to the reports on 20 July 2015, which were then debated in the House of Lords on 16 September 2015.

With regard to the first report on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), the Committee stated that its intention was to inform debate in both Houses ahead of the vote in the House of Commons on 19 November 2014 on whether the UK should re-join the EAW. The report made a number of conclusions with regards to the EAW. The Committee noted that despite flaws in the EAW, such as miscarriages of justice, the majority of its members thought that the UK should opt back into the EAW. The Committee also recommended that further work by the Government should be undertaken in order to improve the extradition system.

In its main report, the Committee concluded that though there were aspects of the law and practice which were “of concern”, there was “no systemic problem with the UK’s extradition regime”. The report made a number of conclusions and recommendations on various aspects of the extradition system. For example, the Committee argued that the system of seeking assurances from countries in order to protect the human rights of an individual sought for extradition did not provide “sufficient confidence that the UK is meeting its human rights obligations”. The Committee also considered the issue legal aid in extradition cases. It argued that legal aid should not be means-tested and should be awarded automatically. In addition, the Committee heard evidence on conditions within some areas of the US justice system. It recommended that the Government make representations to the US on the treatment of individuals extradited from the UK, and formalise these discussions in a memorandum of understanding. 

Lords Library notes LLN-2017-0015

Authors: Eren Waitzman; Samuel White

Topics: Administration of justice, Human rights, International law

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