Our team have been successful in resisting the extradition of a 53-year-old man to Hungary. The EAW was accusatory in nature and sought surrender for offences concerning the allegations of fraud (approximately £85,000).
Children’s right to private and family life
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects a person's right to respect for their private and family life. Article 8 is relevant to many extradition cases. It has particular significance in cases involving children because of the importance of family life to a child’s development and welfare, and in cases where a child has grown up and/or spent most of their life in the UK.
Extradition to Hungary
On 21 November 2019, DJ Inyundo discharged our client, a Hungarian national from a European Arrest Warrant.
In refusing the extradition request, the Judge found that our client was the primary carer for his young son who has a diagnosis of Autism and requires one to one care and attention. The Judge concluded that the extradition of our client would “seriously adversely impact” our client’s son. Moreover, the Judge rejected Hungary’s submission that our client was a fugitive from justice and was entitled to rely on section 14 of the Extradition Act 2003. The alleged offence was now over a decade old. This delay could not be put to one side, albeit the Judge could not attribute culpability to either the Judicial Authority or our client. Whilst the Judge accepted that the delay would not be unjust or oppressive under section 14, it is a significant period of time during which our client has built a positive, settled private and family life in the UK.
Consequently, the Judge held that extradition would not be compatible with our client’s and his family’s article 8 rights and therefore ordered his discharge on this EAW pursuant to Section 21A(4) of the Extradition Act 2003.
One could argue that article 8 is merely a ‘mantra’ that has little value in decision-making and that there is too little standardisation of what the article actually means in practice. The approach that the Judge has taken in its interpretation illustrates the article’s powerful nature. The Judge indicated that the decision about our client’s future will ultimately depend on the well-being of the minor. Just like an umbrella, the Judge indicated that the best interests of the child must be given primary consideration.
With such an extensive power, article 8 has the potential to influence the development and interpretation of the extradition law, having regard to the rights of the children. It may be a difficult task, since the principle encourages the determination of best interests on a case-by-case basis. Perhaps, the domestic court could soon discover article 8’s dynamic approach and begin to perceive it as the starting point of any consideration of extradition, rather than an end-point of discussions as to the nature, extent and effect of human rights.
Such a minor-centred approach, affirming among other things that childhood has a value in itself, would be in line with recent developments of the EU institutions. It is important to note that leaving the European Union will not mean that the UK stops being a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights.
In court, our client was represented by Graeme L. Hall of Doughty Street Chambers, who was instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino and Agnieszka Maria Biel of this firm.
If you require help with an extradition case, please contact Agnieszka on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07802725778.
Agnieszka M. Biel, Trainee Solicitor