Our team have been successful in securing the discharge of a 73-year old woman to Poland. She was discharged under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Right to private and family life
Article 8 provides that everyone has a right to respect for their private and family life. It is therefore unsurprising that in the majority of contested extradition cases the main issue is the Article 8. This however, is a highly qualified right, and the European Convention on Human Rights permits the lawful interference of this right ‘in accordance with the law’ and where it is necessary, for amongst other things ‘the prevention of disorder or crime’.
Article 8 is one of the most open-ended of the Convention rights. It requires the district judge to conduct a balancing exercise between the rights of the individual but also the public interest in ordering extradition. The judge normally sets out each of the "pros" and "cons" and concludes as to why extradition should be ordered, or the defendant discharged.
Extradition to Poland
On 3 February 2020, DJ Tempia discharged our client, a Polish national from a European Arrest Warrant. The EAW sought surrender concerning the offences of fraud (approximately £6,000).
Having undertaken the balancing exercise, DJ Tempia has come to the conclusion that in this finely balanced case but one whereby the age of the offence, the unexplained delay in certifying the warrant and the requested person’s personal circumstances were such that the extradition would be disproportionate and not compatible with the Article 8 rights.
The increasing role of human rights law in extradition cases
In recent years, there has been growing support, from the Courts and academia, for the notion that human rights should be taken into account in extradition proceedings. The State's obligation to respect, protect and fulfil means that State must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of the requested person’s human rights. However, Article 8 is a qualified right, which means that it can be overridden if there is a strong public interest in doing so.
In this area difficult choices may have to be made by the judges between the rights of the individual and the needs of society. The case of our client is a clear example of the tension that exists between human rights and extradition, between the protective function of the human rights over the fugitive status. The goals of extradition and human rights are very different. The purpose of extradition is to surrender the requested person to the requesting state in order to serve sentence or to face trial. The purpose of human rights is to ensure that those are observed and respected in light of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In court, our client was represented by Juliet Wells of Temple Garden Chambers, who was instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino and Agnieszka Maria Biel of this firm.
We can help
If you require help with an extradition case, please contact Ms Biel on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07802725778.
Agnieszka M. Biel, Trainee Solicitor