Four members involved in case which persuaded High Court to quash extradition order to Italy

On 16 July 2018, the Divisional Court (Gross LJ and Nicol J) quashed an extradition order made by District Judge Snow on 11 August 2016.


The Appellants, the parents of three children, were wanted by Italy pursuant to identical European Arrest Warrants to face allegations of people trafficking offences. An anonymity order is in place to preserve the interests of the Appellants’ children.


The Appellants argued that the district judge had been wrong to conclude that the warrants adequately described the allegations against them. The Divisional Court agreed. In allowing the appeal, Nicol J stated that “nothing about these warrants is straightforward” and that the warrants were “extremely difficult to follow”. There had been a “wholesale failure” to comply with the basic obligation to provide the Appellants with an adequate description of the offending, as required by section 2(4)(c) of the Extradition Act 2003.


Significantly, the High Court refused to permit the Italian authorities to adduce further information to address the defects in the warrants; the court found the further information they attempted to introduce “did not assist in upholding the judgment of the District Judge but served to undermine it, very substantially” (per Gross LJ).


The decision is important for two principal reasons. First, the decision confirms that the protections under section 2(4)(c) EA still have teeth: it is a successful illustration of the application of the principles recently laid down by the High Court in Alexander v France, in which the court ruled that further information can cure section 2 “lacunae” in European arrest warrants. Second, the decision confirms that the primary responsibility lies with requesting authorities to provide adequate information at first instance and that there is no duty on English courts to seek further information.


In the light of the High Court’s findings in relation to section 2 EA, the Court ruled that it would be wrong in principle to consider the other ground of appeal; namely, whether extradition breached the private and family life rights of the Appellants’ children, notwithstanding the appointment of the Official Solicitor and separate representation for them.


The Appellant ‘B’ was represented by Graeme Hall, instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors.


The children, ‘X’ and ‘Z’ (by the Official Solicitor, his litigation friend) were represented by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, instructed by Oliver Studdert of Simpson Millar LLP Solicitors.


The child ‘Y’ was represented by Malcolm Hawkes, instructed by Steel and Shamash, solicitors.


The judgment can be found here