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Lords looks into extradition and human rights


In the next two evidence sessions of its ongoing inquiry into Extradition Law, the House of Lords Select Committee charged with the investigation will be speaking to legal and academic experts, who can help the committee understand how human rights are considered in the course of extradition hearings.

Following on from the sessions with legal experts from both the US and the UK, this session will focus on the human rights bar, assurances and the monitoring of assurances.

In the first session, at 10.10am, the Committee will hear from the following panel of specialist extradition barristers:

  • Daniel Sternberg, 9-12 Bell Yard;
  • Ben Keith, Five St Andrew's Hill; and
  • Paul Garlick QC, Furnival Chambers.

The Committee will ask the barristers about the human rights bar, which can prevent extradition if it would breach a person's human rights. The session will explore issues including how far a swift and efficient extradition process allows for the examination of human rights concerns; examples of cases when the bar might have been considered to be too high, or where cases funded by legal aid could not afford to commission the expert work necessary to make a human rights case against extradition; and the effects of removing the Home Secretary's discretion on human rights issues and replacing it with a judicial determination by Courts.

Following on, at 11.00am, the Committee will consider assurances given by countries requesting someone's extradition that they will be treated and tried fairly.  The Committee will hear from a panel of witnesses who are experts in the testing and monitoring assurances.

The panel will comprise:

  • Professor Rodney Morgan, expert on the criminal justice system, particularly with regard to prisons and probationary matters;
  • Dr Kimberley Trapp, expert in public international law;
  • Mark Summers QC, Matrix Chambers; and
  • Kenneth Maciver, an Edinburgh Sheriff.

Questions the witnesses are likely to face include:

  • What proportion of extradition cases involve assurances?
  • How far do you agree with the sentiment that if an assurance is given at the appropriate level, it should not be scrutinised or monitored?
  • Are there examples of instances where using assurances has undermined the rule of law?
  • How are breaches of assurance reported, and by whom?
  • What do you think would be the most effective way of monitoring assurances?

The evidence sessions will take place on Wednesday 22 October at 10.10am in Committee Room 2A of the House of Lords.

The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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