JOINT

Inquiry into the human rights implications of UK extradition policy

10 December 2010

The Joint Committee on Human Rights, chaired by Dr Hywel Francis MP, is conducting an inquiry into the human rights implications of UK extradition policy. The Committee seeks evidence from anyone with an interest.

Written evidence is sought by Friday 21 January.

It is expected that public hearings will be held in February and early March.  The Committee aims to report to both Houses, with recommendations, by mid-April. The Report will receive a response from the Government, and may be debated in either House.

The Committee acknowledges the work of the House of Lords EU Committee on this issue; the Joint Committee’s inquiry focuses only on the human rights implications of UK extradition policy.

Background

On 8 September, the Home Secretary announced a review of the UK’s extradition treaties and the Extradition Act 2003. The Committee’s inquiry is intended to contribute to this review through examining the issues arising from the practical implementation of extradition policy from a human rights perspective. 

The Committee will focus in particular on the compatibility of the operation of the UK’s bilateral extradition treaties (including the US-UK extradition treaty), and other procedures such as the European Arrest Warrant and the European Investigation Order with the UK’s human rights obligations.

Issues

The Committee seeks evidence on any aspect of this topic, and particularly on the questions below. 

  • Does the practical application of the UK’s extradition arrangements interfere with the following ECHR rights in a justified and proportionate manner:
  • Article 3, the right not to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment?
  • Article 5, the right to liberty and security?
  • Article 6, the right to a fair trial?
  • Article 8, the right to respect for home and family life?
  • Article 14, the right to equal treatment without discrimination?
  • Do the UK’s extradition treaties provide adequate protection against any unjustifiable infringement of those rights? If not, how should they or the Extradition Act 2003 be amended so that they do so?
  • Should there be an expectation that where possible trials are held and sentences served within the United Kingdom?  How would such an expectation be implemented in practice?
  • Should the Extradition Act 2003 be amended to include appropriate safeguards for human rights (including a requirement for prima facie evidence, dual criminality and use of appropriate forums)?  How should these safeguards be implemented?
  • What are the practical implication arising from the automaticity of mutual recognition arrangements in the UK’s extradition treaties?

Bilateral extradition treaties (including the US-UK extradition treaty):

  • Are human rights taken adequately into consideration when considering extradition applications under bilateral treaties?  Do the UK’s obligations under its bilateral extradition treaties override any human rights concerns as has been claimed by some commentators?
  • If so, in what way should human rights considerations be taken into account when applications for extradition proceedings are underway?
  • Are additional human rights safeguards required in the practical application of the UK’s bilateral extradition treaties?  If so, what are they and how should they be implemented?
  • How is the human rights record of a country with which the UK has an extradition treaty taken into account when the case for extradition is considered?
  • Do the UK’s bilateral extradition treaties take this adequately into consideration?
  • Are there any other specific human rights concerns that arise from the practical application of the UK’s bilateral extradition treaties?

European Arrest Warrant (EAW):

  • Can and should British courts be able to exercise greater discretion when considering applications for extradition under EAW to consider whether the human rights of the accused will be respected and to bar extradition proceedings on human rights grounds where they will not be respected?
  • Does the lack of a proportionality principle in the EAW create problems for its compatibility with human rights?  How could the EAW be amended to incorporate a proportionality principle?
  • Does the UK implement the EAW in a stricter fashion than is required by the original framework decision?  What safeguards do other EU member states apply to the extradition of their citizens under the EAW?
  • What other issues of compatibility with the ECHR could arise from the use of the EAW in extradition proceedings?
  • Are there any other concerns that arise from the practical application of the EAW?

European Investigation Order (EIO):

  • What human rights implications does the proposed EIO raise, in the context of the UK’s extradition arrangements?
  • Do human rights safeguards need to be included in the EIO framework?

You need not address all these questions. Short submissions are preferred. A submission longer than six pages should include a one-page summary.

Submission of written evidence

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to [email protected] and marked “UK extradition policy”. An additional paper copy should be sent to: Greta Piacquadio, Joint Committee on Human Rights, 7 Millbank, London SW1A 0AA.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter.

You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the Joint Committee on Human Rights will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. A guide for written submissions to Select Committees is available.

Please also note that:

  • Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
  • Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed, placed on the Internet or circulated by the Committee at any stage. You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. Evidence published other than under the authority of the Committee does not attract parliamentary privilege. If your evidence is not printed, it will in due course be made available to the public in the Parliamentary Archives.
  • All communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed through the clerk or the Chairman of the Committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee.

Further Information

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