MPs call for overhaul of US-UK extradition arrangements

30 March 2012

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee is recommending that the Government seek major amendments to the 2003 US-UK Extradition Treaty

The Committee urges the Government to act immediately to deal with growing public unease about the fairness of the Treaty.

  • The Government should seek to amend the Treaty to specify that the same test applies for extradition from the UK that applies to extradition from the USA.
  • The Government should introduce a “forum bar” to extradition, which would allow a judge to decide that a person be tried in the UK in cases where both countries have jurisdiction.
  • The Government should negotiate the introduction of an evidence test. This would be proportionate to the hardship faced by those who are extradited, whether they are subsequently convicted or not.
  • The Home Secretary should publish the evidence to the Baker Review immediately.

The Committee's inquiry, which began in 2010, took evidence from those who had been involved in the extradition process as defendants, lawyers, campaigners, prosecutors and judges.

Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"The Treaty is unbalanced, making it easier to extradite a British citizen to the USA than vice versa.

The USA remains one of our most important partners in the fight against international terrorism and organised crime. Extradition is a significant weapon in that fight.

However, the cases of Gary McKinnon, Richard O‘Dwyer and Christopher Tappin have highlighted public concern that these arrangements are one-sided. Prosecutors must be required to produce evidence in support of an extradition request and the accused should have the right to challenge that evidence in court.

British citizens should also be given the opportunity to face trial in the UK. This would save both time and money.

It has now been two and half years since the Prime Minister said the Extradition Act should be reviewed and five months since Sir Scott Baker produced his report. Evidence to the Committee has shown that the current arrangements do not protect the rights of British citizens. The Government must remedy this immediately."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

More news on: Parliament, government and politics, Parliament, Crime, civil law, justice and rights, International affairs, North America, Administration of justice, Commons news, Committee news

Share this page