An extradition lawyer will be able to advise you whether there are any technical defects to the extradition request or procedure that mean you should be discharged.
If there are no defects in the request and the offences are what are described as “extradition offences” – again an extradition lawyer will be able to advise you on this – then the court will consider whether your extradition should be barred for various reasons. These include, but are not limited to the following:
Double jeopardy – you have already dealt with the offences
Extraneous considerations – the warrant has in fact been issued to persecute you, or you would face prejudice on your return as a result of your race, religion, gender, sexuality or political beliefs
Passage of time – it would be unfair or oppressive to extradite you because of the time that has past since the offence or conviction
Forum – the offence should be prosecuted in the UK rather than the requesting country
It is also possible to defeat the request for extradition if you can demonstrate that:
You were involuntarily convicted in your absence and you are not entitled to a retrial
Your extradition would not comply with your human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights
Your physical or mental health is such that it would be unjust or oppressive to extradite you
The extradition is an abuse of process
These potential defences are often complex and require the careful use of evidence. You should speak to a lawyer who can advise you properly on your individual circumstances.
For Arrest Warrant cases under Part 1 of the Extradition Act 2003, an extradition hearing is meant to commence within 21 days of your first appearance in court. In practice, this date will often be adjourned and the whole process usually takes around 2 – 3 months.
For non-EU cases under Part 2 of the Act, extradition usually takes around 6 – 9 months.
The actual extradition hearing can take anything from a matter of hours to many days depending on the complexity of the case.
People often think that a court needs to be sure of their guilt to extradite them. This is untrue.
Under the Arrest Warrant scheme no evidence of the alleged offence is ever required.
Some non-EU countries are still required to show a prima facie case but for many countries – including the USA and Russia – this is not the case.