Supreme Court extradition appeal allowed: European Arrest Warrants lacking judicial oversight invalid

21.11.13 | |

The Supreme Court today allowed an extradition appeal on behalf of a Lithuanian national, settling the long-standing question of the validity of a European Arrest Warrant issued by a Ministry of Justice. Acting for the Appellant, Sakalis, Ben Cooper successfully argued that his client's EAW was invalid, since it had been issued by the Ministry at the request of a prison, rather than a court. Member states were not intended to have carte blanche to define ‘judicial authority’ however they choose.
 

The case was one of three before the court, and the sole appeal to be allowed on behalf of a requested person. The court's ruling will have a profound effect on the validity of EAWs issued by a Ministry of Justice on behalf of non-judicial bodies in Lithuania and several other EU states. The Court also departed from its principal reason for refusing the appeal of Assange in reliance on the applicability  of the Vienna Convention and state practice to its interpretation of the European Framework Decision.

 

The Supreme Court, held that the concept of a ‘judicial authority' is embedded in European Union law and so falls to be interpreted by looking at the instrument’s context and intended effects. In the context of the Framework Decision, the Court decided that the most obvious purpose of insisting on the concept was to ensure objectivity (including freedom from political or executive influence) in decision-making and to enhance confidence in a system which was going to lead to a new level of mutual cooperation including the surrender of member states’ own nationals to other member states.

 

In Bucnys v Ministry of Justice, Lithuania [2013] UKSC 71, Ben was instructed by Nora Talbi at EBR Attridge LLP and led by James Lewis QC

 

The judgment is available here.

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