Drystone Chambers’ extradition team are leaders in this complex, technical and rapidly developing area of law.
Chambers and Partners has included members of chambers since the commencement of its extradition rankings, noting our strong extradition practice and citing praise for the quality of the advocacy of our barristers.The past 10 years have been marked by a phenomenal increase in the number of extradition requests to the United Kingdom. This change reflects not merely the volume of cases under the European Arrest Warrant system, but a global shift, with requests made by non-EU states which have never before pursued extradition with the UK. In part this is an inevitable consequence of the long-reach approach of prosecutors (particularly in the US), to trans-national crime and financial regulation, but it is also indicative of changes in the status and engagement of developing states seeking to benefit from international legal relations.
Members of chambers have been instructed to defend and act on requests from states as diverse as Azerbaijan, Bermuda, South Africa, Peru, Rawanda, Brazil, India and Zambia, to name a few, as well as every single EU member state. Drystone Chambers has been at the forefront of challenges where the legal systems of foreign states and the compatibility of extradition with the human rights of requested persons have been put to the test. We have members of chambers at Westminster Magistrates Court every sitting day of the year and provide quick and responsive advice and representation on appeal to the High Court and the Supreme Court.
As well as challenging a request when it is made we can also assist clients in avoiding the consequences of an unjustified extradition request being made in the first place. In particular we are well versed in making representations to Interpol to remove a Red Notice listing and can advise on the scope of "political" and "private law" based objections to Interpol Notices and Diffusions. We have provided training in association with Fair Trials International on the scope of Interpol's jurisdiction.
Should a request be made or an EAW issued we can advise on the best means to compromise proceedings in the requesting state and how best to use the new mechanism under section 21B of the Extradition Act 2003, to engage the issuing judicial authority in a constructive dialogue to achieve an alternative resolution whether by an "iron letter", European Supervision Order or the withdrawal of the warrant. We are also able to assist persons extradited to the United Kingdom in challenging prosecutions that do not comply with "specialty" arrangements.
Mutual Legal Assistance
Mutual legal assistance is now increasingly used to progress investigations in overseas states, particularly so where the requirements of section 12A of the 2003 Act would preclude extradition. Members of Drystone Chambers have considerable experience in drafting letters of request and related mutual legal assistance matters on behalf of defendants and prosecution agencies. We can also advise on the disclosure obligations of those made the subject of MLA letters of request.
It is no exaggeration to say that over the last 10 years, members of Drystone Chambers have shaped the law of extradition. As well as our extensive contribution to case law we have been instrumental in shaping new legislative approaches such as the European Evidence Warrant and the European Commission's consideration of proportionality issue, making significant submissions on the Scott Baker Review and the Protocol 36 opt-out debate. We are very happy to arrange training or briefings on specific topics and are always delighted to welcome new clients to our regular seminars.
Please see our barristers' webpages for lists of our notable cases.