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European arrest warrant - in or out?

Putting the spotlight on this controversial issue, the House of Lords Select Committee investigating Extradition Law will hear arguments for and against retaining the European Arrest Warrant on Wednesday 5 November.

The issue of whether the UK should retain the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is hugely contentious and political, raising issues about sovereignty, justice and the rule of law.

As the debate about the pros and cons of the UK's continued membership of the European Union continues, the intention of this week's session is for the witnesses to present the Committee with both sides of the ‘opt-in/opt-out' argument. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP has regularly voiced his views as an opponent of the EAW, and of the EU in general, and advocates leaving both.

Baroness Ludford was, until recently, an MEP. She has been a leading voice in support of the European Arrest Warrant but has also been critical of it. She wrote the European Parliament's report on the EAW system, setting out how it should be improved and reformed, which was endorsed by the majority of other MEPs.

Questions the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • If the UK does not opt back into the EAW, what will be the basis of our extradition arrangements with the other 27 EU Member States?
  • What impact would an extended extradition process have on the criminal justice system?
  • Given that since 2009 only 4% of surrenders from the UK in response to EAW requests have been of British nationals, what impact does the EAW have on British citizens?
  • How effectively has the Extradition Act 2003 and its amendments protected foreign nationals who are legally residing and working in the UK from being extradited for minor offences?
  • What is your response to the support expressed by senior police and law enforcement representatives for the EAW, and their doubts about being able to establish any other practical alternative arrangements for cross-border cooperation?

Following the publication of the session's transcript, the Committee aims to publish a short report in time to help inform the debates scheduled to take place in both Houses and, in particular, before the vote in the Commons.

The evidence sessions will take place on Wednesday 5 November at 10.10am in Committee Room 4 of the House of Lords.

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