Extradition: the risk and preventative steps

19 Jan 2023, 15 mins ago

Gherson often receive calls from individuals (based either inside or outside the UK) who have outstanding criminal matters, or concerns about potential outstanding criminal matters, in another jurisdiction.

In extreme cases this could be another jurisdiction in which the individual has not set foot, but is alleged to have committed a criminal act. These individuals are now gravely concerned that they may face extradition to the other jurisdiction.

To be in this situation with the accompanying uncertainty and lack of clarity is understandably extremely stressful.  Arrest and removal to a potentially faraway jurisdiction is undoubtedly a traumatic and unsettling process, and even more so, if ties have developed in the country from which the individual is sought. 

As such, individuals in this situation predominantly have three concerns:

  • what is the risk of my removal to another jurisdiction;
  • what pre-emptive and/or preventative steps can I consider; and
  • could INTERPOL be involved.

Before giving effective advice to someone in this situation it is necessary to primarily ascertain the specific factual situation and then consider numerous factors. At a very high level, some of these key factors that could be applicable are now considered.

What is the risk of my extradition to another jurisdiction?

Which country is seeking my removal? Although one should never rule out the possibility of extradition, the risk of it actually occurring can vary dependent on the country seeking the individual. This is because arrangements between countries are governed by numerous international treaties, and the potential determinate factors in any removal will differ depending on the countries involved.  For example, the UK has extradition arrangements with over 100 countries. However, the risks of facing removal to each of these countries is not identical. For example, the impact that any human rights arguments can have will vary country-by-country.

What offence does the outstanding criminal matter relate to? Very broadly, the more serious the offence, the more likely that any extradition request will be issued (and be successful).  Indeed, there are certain rules regarding proportionality and minimum sentences that have to be imposed before requests are allowed. Very generally speaking, the offending behaviour must normally be a criminal offence in both countries.

What pre-emptive and/or preventative steps can I consider?

Should pre-emptive notification be given? It is sometimes advisable toconsider initiating contact with the relevant authorities in the country where an individual is located. This may show a willingness to engage with any extradition process which may affect determinations on issues such as bail. However, individuals are strongly advised to obtain expert legal advice before making any contact with the relevant authorities.

Can the matter concurrently be dealt with at source?  An effective strategy can be to also simultaneously attempt to deal with any criminal matter at source (i.e. in the country seeking the individual). Often, lawyers will already have been engaged in the jurisdiction requesting the individual. Further engaging these lawyers (either before or during any extradition proceedings) to concurrently attempt to resolve the criminal issue at source can be a wise move.

Could INTERPOL be involved?

Finally, individuals will want to know how INTERPOL can be involved. Indeed, a country may issue a request to locate an individual through INTERPOL before issuing an extradition request; however, this is not a prerequisite (i.e. an individual can face extradition proceedings even if they are not subject to INTERPOL measures). If you require more information, Gherson have previously written a series of blogs designed to assist those who fear they might be subject to INTERPOL measures (including a Red Notice):

Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with all aspects of INTERPOL and Red Notice challenges, extradition requests, complex asylum claims, and where the three intersect.

If you have any questions about a current or potential extradition case please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication, it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2023