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Government responds to Brexit: judicial oversight of the European Arrest Warrant report

Scales of justice on a table
07 December 2017

The Government has responded to the report of the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee on Brexit: judicial oversight of the European Arrest Warrant.

Background

The Committee's report examines whether alternatives to the European Arrest Warrant are possible, and explores the options available for resolving disagreements between the UK and the EU in the absence of the Court of Justice.

The Committee's main conclusions included:

  • The Government's intention is to remove the UK entirely from the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which performs oversight of the EAW. The Committee heard evidence that it does not seem at all clear how the UK will remain part of EAW arrangements if it is outside the European Union, with no jurisdiction for the CJEU.
  • The most promising avenue for the Government to pursue could be to follow the precedent set by Norway and Iceland and seek a bilateral extradition agreement with the EU that mirrors the EAW's provisions as far as possible. This arrangement contains provisions for a political dispute resolution mechanism, which would be compatible with the Government's desire for a similar mechanism as it seeks to replace the Court of Justice. However, this agreement has taken years to negotiate and still has not come into effect.
  • The Committee heard evidence that a "phased process of implementation", which the Government says it wants, is likely to mean accepting, at least in part, the jurisdiction of the CJEU. However, a transitional arrangement might be difficult to secure if the UK has left the EU and withdrawn from other EU-related arrangements such as the Charter of Fundamental Rights, EU data protection laws, and laws on EU citizenship, leaving the prospect of a cliff-edge scenario.
  • If the UK fails to secure new extradition arrangements with the EU, the 'default' outcome would be to revert to the 1957 Council of Europe Convention on Extradition as the legal basis for extradition. The Committee heard evidence that this would be counterproductive and inefficient, and not an adequate substitute.

Further information

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