The second edition of the global conference on International Extradition and the European Arrest Warrant was held at Worcester College, University of Oxford and attracted experts from the United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Continental Europe. High on the agenda was an examination of the comparative practice of extradition in several jurisdictions, the current state of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) mechanism and the consequences of Brexit for extradition rules in the UK.
The seminar began with a comprehensive analysis of extradition law and court procedure in Germany, by extradition expert Thomas Wahl from the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law. He also explained the current controversial issue whether the constitutional ban not to extradite German nationals must be extended to Union citizens following the judgment of the European Court of Justice in “Petruhhin” and the recent request for a preliminary ruling by the Regional Court of Berlin in the “Pisciotti”-case. Furthermore, Thomas Wahl commented on the recent case law of the Federal Constitutional Court on the refusal ground of “ordre public”. He referred to the famous ruling of 15 December 2015, which opened “Pandora’s box” for defence lawyers to attack surrender requests arguing that the law of another EU country is not in line with parallel German concepts. Wahl noted that the Court did a U-turn when it recently concluded that drawing of negative inferences from the accused’s silence under English law does not hinder surrender to the UK.
UK barrister Mark Summers QC of Matrix Chambers – who appears on a regular basis in extradition cases, including Assange v. Sweden in 2012 – outlined the similarities and differences in the reading of EAW provisions (such as the definition of judicial authority, the issue of res judicata and the effectiveness of summons) by the Court of Justice of the European Union and the UK Supreme Court. “Although several major differences persist, on several occasions the ECJ has often reached, over time, the very same conclusions of the UK courts,” said Summers. “On the domestic front, the last decade shows a fascinating and difficult tension between pro-surrender courts and a Parliament sceptical of, and determined to lessen the impact of, this European mechanism”
British solicitor Rebecca Niblock, co-author of the leading textbook on “Extradition law” (published by LAG, now in its II edition) focussed on the issue of bail and detention in EAW cases, especially in instances where other less intrusive alternatives are possible. Niblock also informed participants of the newly-established association DELF – Defence Extradition Lawyers’ Forum.