Assange latest: High Court rules Judge entitled to discharge extradition on mental health grounds, but allows appeal based on recently given assurances

Edward Fitzgerald QC represented Mr Julian Assange in resisting the appeal by the United States Government against extradition to the US. This followed his success in obtaining an order for discharge from the Magistrates’ Court.

Edward was instructed by Gareth Peirce of Birnberg Peirce & Partners, and worked in with Counsel from Matrix Chambers, Mark Summers QC and Florence Iveson.

In these current proceedings, Edward, successfully defended the District Judge’s findings on the legal test she applied in determining whether extradition would be oppressive under Section 91 grounds. The High Court found that the District Judge had correctly applied the test and that she was entitled to find extradition oppressive by reason of Mr Assange’s mental health and the impact extradition to the US would have upon him.  

However, the High Court went on to rule against Mr Assange because of the recent assurances provided by the United States after the hearing at first instance had concluded, for the purposes of the appeal.

Mr Assange’s legal team will now seek a certificate in order to appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court decision to allow the appeal on the basis of the US assurances. If a certificate and leave to appeal are granted, then the case will proceed to the Supreme Court.

In any event, the High Court has now accepted that Mr Assange still has the right to appeal on the other points on which the District Judge made adverse findings in the Magistrates’ Court. These include challenges to his extradition based on the right to freedom of expression and the political motivation behind the prosecution and the request.

The judgement can be found here.