US UK Extradition

 

The tragic story of Ryan Dunn is currently dominating the news cycle and has been described as the most serious immunity dispute between the UK and the US in modern times.

What is Diplomatic Immunity?


William Bergstrom
William Bergstrom
Partner - Acting Head of Extradition Division

Diplomatic immunity is a form of legal protection that grants certain privileges and immunities to protected agents and their families, resulting in their immunity from criminal or civil prosecution under the laws of the countries hosting them. The aim of this reciprocal arrangement between countries is to ensure that diplomats may effectively carry out their duties and are given safe passage.

Modern diplomatic immunity was codified as international law in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, ratified by the immense majority of nations and implemented in England & Wales by the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964.

Under Article 41 of the Vienna Convention, diplomats are expected to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state and therefore compromise their careers upon violating the spirit of the Vienna Convention with misconduct or criminal behaviour, that occasionally results in prosecution. 

Under Article 32 of the Convention, diplomatic immunity can be expressly  waived only by the government of the diplomat’s home country.

Historically, many states have negatively reacted to waiver requests by host countries and such waiver seems to have taken place only when the diplomat has committed a crime not related to their diplomatic role and so serious that prosecution has been in the public interest. For example, in 2002, a Colombian security officer faced trial for murder of a man in London, after his diplomatic immunity was lifted by his government.

In the case of Anne Sacoolas, the pressure on the U.K. government to initiate formal extradition proceedings may become considerably high.

Media campaigns resulting in the involvement of political figures have shown to be very effective in the extradition context between the UK and the US – the Gary McKinnon case being a recent example of a successful challenge to extradition and the power of the UK media.  It remains to be seen whether this will be equally effective in bringing Anne Sacoolas to justice.

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who are being threatened with Extradition. we recognise that being the subject of an extradition request can be incredibly traumatic for clients and their families.  It is therefore essential to have expert representation from the outset.  Our specialist Extradition Solicitors are expert in fighting any type of extradition based on technical, procedural and, in particular, human rights grounds.  No matter which country is attempting to extradite you, your best chance lies with a specialist team in your corner.

You can rest assured that you will receive specialist advice and representation of the very highest quality.  Call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback at your convenience

Extradition

 


Sarah Phillips
Sarah Phillips
Solicitor - Crime & Extradition

Sarah Phillips, a solicitor in the Crime and Extradition Team, along with Josh Kern of Counsel from 9 Bedford Row secured the discharge of a Requested Person wanted to serve a sentence of 3 years 6 months in Poland for offences including assault and theft.

The offences dated back to 2002/2003 and the Requested Person had previously been subjected to extradition proceedings in the UK in 2012 before the warrant was withdrawn by Poland.

District Judge Griffiths ordered discharge of the Requested Person on Passage of Time (s14) and Article 8 grounds. She found that although the Requested Person had been a fugitive at the time of his previous extradition proceedings in 2012, he had ceased to be a fugitive thereafter and he was therefore able to rely on the s14 bar to extradition. The Requested Person had two children in the UK, one of whom had been born since 2012.

His extradition was therefore found to be oppressive by virtue of the passage of time between 2012 – present day and to be contrary to his Article 8 right to a private and family life in the UK. 

We Can Help

With MW Solicitors, you can be confident that you have a legal team with the specialist knowledge and experience required to thoroughly investigate your case and present the strongest possible defence on your behalf.

Our team have defended clients sought all over world, from Peru to Nigeria and from Albania to the United States.  Don't delay, talk to our specialist Extradition Lawyers on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

Essay

We are proud to announce that MW Extradition Solicitor Sarah Phillips has been selected as the Winner of the DELF John RWD Jones QC Essay Competition 2018.


Sarah Phillips
Sarah Phillips
Solicitor - Crime & Extradition

The DELF Committee and judging panel would like to thank all participants. The standard of entries was high and picking a winning entry was not an easy task.

About DELF

The Defence Extradition Lawyers' Forum was founded in 2016 to provide a coherent and unified voice to represent the interests of persons requested for extradition and of the lawyers that defend them.

About John RWD JOnes QC

John RWD Jones QC was a superb barrister, specialising in extradition, international law and human rights. He represented clients in many of the leading cases of the day, including Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, and Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks. John was also a gifted academic lawyer, with publications including a textbook with Antonio Cassese, the eminent international lawyer, and a leading practitioner text on extradition. John sadly passed away in April 2016 and DELF very much wishes to honour his memory by launching its annual essay competition in his name.

UK Government

 

McMillan Williams are pleased to note the recent announcement by the Ministry of Justice that an additional £8m is to be invested in the payments made to Criminal Barristers undertaking Defence work.

However, there is as yet no detail as to how the extra funding will be allocated, which remains a concern.

Additionally, it is disappointing to note that there is no similar increase in funding for Defence Solicitors, who have borne cuts of 8.75% in the context of fees which have been frozen since 1998. As recent studies have shown, the erosion of the Legal Aid fees paid to solicitors is putting off new entrants to the profession, resulting in areas of the country where the vast majority of Duty Solicitors are over 50 years old. This is potentially a ticking time bomb for access to justice and McMillan Williams urges the Government to take prompt action to avoid the emergence of Legal Aid advice deserts, which could have a catastrophic impact upon the most vulnerable in society.

We Can Help

McMillan Williams is widely recognised as one of the leading firms of Solicitors for having a formidable reputation in Criminal Defence work.  We have a reputation for providing clients with expertise and skilled advice in this area of law.  Our specialist Criminal Defence team can handle any or every stage of your case, any time of day.

With McMillan Williams you can rest assured that you will receive specialist advice and representation of the very highest quality.  Call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to tell us about your matter and we will call you back.

France-UK-Flags

 

On 12th July, the Divisional Court handed down the Judgement in Shumba, Bechian and Henta v France [2018] EWHC 1762 (Admin), and found that the Appellants face a real risk of Article 3 breach if extradited to France.

MW Solicitors acted for the second Appellant Mr Bechian in this significant High Court decision.

This case is important as it is the first case in which conditions in French prisons, which were criticised by the recent Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) report dated 7 April 2017, have been considered by the Divisional Court.
 
The Appellants relied on expert evidence which suggested that if extradited, they would serve their sentences in one of four prisons, namely Villepinte, Fresnes, Nanterre or Fleury-Mérogis, all within the Paris region. These prisons have been the subject of heavy criticism by the CPT due to overcrowding amongst other unsatisfactory conditions of detention including lack of time outside the cell for prisoners, lack of a proper bed and the prescence of rats within the prison.

The Court held at para. 87 that

“In relation to those four prisons, we are satisfied on the evidence that there may be substantial grounds for believing that the Appellants face a real risk of inhuman or degrading treatment if they are extradited”.

Furthermore, the Court concluded that the first stage of C-404/15 and C-659/15 PPU Aranyosi and Caldararu [2016] 3 WLR 807 had been met and that

“there is sufficient evidence before the Court to require the Court to make a request of the French authorities setting out certain questions on which we need specific information before this Court could permit extradition of these Appellants to France” (para. 89).

The Court have requested answers from the French authorities to four detailed questions around the conditions of detention that Mr Bechian and the two other Appellant’s will be held in if their extradition to France is executed. We await the response to these questions, which are due by 7th September.

Mr Bechian was represented by Alison MacDonald QC and Emilie Pottle of Counsel. Mr Henta and Mr Shumba were represented by Alison MacDonald QC and Emilie Pottle (for Mr Henta) and Saoirse Townshend (for Mr Shumba).

We Can Help

At MW, our mission, is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who are being threatened with Extradition.  Our experienced and specialist Extradition Lawyers can help you identify grounds for a challenge and mount a defense against an Extradition request.

To speak to one of our team call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

Young Detainee

The recently reported increase in rape trials collapsing due to failures by the Police or Prosecuters in disclosing evidence to defence Solicitors has highlighted that the justice system has "systemic" problems. 

A Problem Across the Spectrum of Criminal Law


Christopher Maynard
Christopher Maynard
Partner - Crime & Extradition

McMillan Williams Criminal Defence Solicitors, Christopher Maynard and John Molleskog recently acted in a case involving five youth defendants charged with robbery. 

The Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the case after the Judge described the Crown as "spectacularly" failing in their disclosure obligations.

The five young defendants faced a charge of robbery at Camberwell Green Youth Court but the case against them was dropped after Christopher Maynard submitted that there had been "egregious" failings by the Crown Prosecution Service in disclosing evidence which led to the Judge refusing the Crown's application to adjourn the case.

John Molleskog commented that

"the case was the latest in a series of prosecutions where the CPS has dropped a case due to disclosure problems, as has been well reported in national media in recent times"

We Can Help

At McMillan Williams, our mission is to "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those charged with a criminal offences.  We offer a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service for suspects detained in police custody.

Our Team of specialist Criminal Defence Lawyers will provide you with expert advice and assistance whenever and wherever you need us. 

If you or a family member need a Criminal Defence Lawyer, don't delay call our expert and specialist Solicitors today on 0203 551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

UK vs US Flags

In a recent Landmark decision, the High Court ruled that UK Citizen, Lauri Love, should not be extradited to the United States of America to face trial for hacking computer systems based in the US.

Laurie Love
Lauri Love

Love is accused, whilst working with others between the periods of October 2012 to October 2013, of hacking into private companies and several US Government agencies including The US Federal Reserve, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), US Army, US Department of Defence and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The US Government alledges that this resulted in millions’ of dollars’ worth of damage.  If Love is found guilty he could face more than 60 years’ imprisonment.

This appeal decision overturned District Judge Tempia’s ruling at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 16th September 2016 to have Love extradited to the US to stand trial against these allegations.

This appeal was heard by Lord Burnett and Justice Ouseley. The High Court came to the conclusion that that:

  • it would be oppressive to extradite Love due to his physical and mental health condition; and

  • if extradited it would be a breach of the ‘forum bar.’

In light of these arguments it was held to be unnecessary to consider further arguments of Articles 3 and 8 ECHR due to the conclusions drawn relating to the two grounds.

Love suffers with Asperger’s Syndrome, depression, eczema and asthma. The High Court considered his high risk of suicide and serious deterioration of his health upon extradition.

What is The Forum Bar?

The ‘forum bar’ allows a court to prevent extradition of the requested person if the extradition is not in the interests of justice having considered the factors as per section 19B and 83A-E of the Extradition Act 2003. This was introduced by the Home Secretary at the time Theresa May when she intervened and prevented the extradition of Gary McKinnon who was similarly accused of hacking into US government websites, was a high suicide risk and suffered with Asperger Syndrome.

Love’s relevant activity was performed in the United Kingdom, using his computers at home. However, in considering relevant factors it was considered that most of the harm suffered was in the US and that this is a ‘very weighty factor.’

The High Court stated that significant weight should have been placed on the fact that the prosecution could proceed in the UK Courts. The High Court was persuaded by Love’s connection to the UK. He is a British national, studying in the UK, is supported by his parents and has a girlfriend. He has close connection with his family who cares for him and receives medical treatment which he may not receive if extradited. These connections outweigh factors for his extradition.

Love was discharged however, the High Court stated:

“125. We emphasise however that it would not be oppressive to prosecute Mr Love in England for the offences alleged against him. Far from it. If the forum bar is to operate as intended, where it prevents extradition, the other side of the coin is that prosecution in this country rather than impunity should then follow, as Mr Fitzgerald fully accepted. Much of Mr Love’s argument was based on the contention that this is indeed where he should be prosecuted

126. The CPS must now bend its endeavours to his prosecution, with the assistance to be expected from the authorities in the United States, recognising the gravity of the allegations in this case, and the harm done to the victims. As we have pointed out, the CPS did not intervene to say that prosecution in England was inappropriate. If proven, these are serious offences indeed.”

This is a landmark Judgment as it is the first time that the ‘Forum bar’ has been successfully argued. It is very rare for the UK to refuse an extradition request and this will no doubt have a profound impact on similar extradition requests to the US and elsewhere.

We Can Help

At MW, Our Mission, is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who are being threatened with Extradition.  Our experienced and specialist Extradition Lawyers can help you identify grounds for a challenge and mount a defence against an Extradition request.

If you need a criminal defence lawyer or need an extradition lawyer, our talented and specialist Crime and Extradition Solicitors are here to help you.  Don't delay call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

On 8 January 2018 HMP Nottingham was visited by prison inspectors who deemed the institution to be “fundamentally unsafe” with “serious failures in safety”.

Consequently the Chief Inspector of Prisons has invoked the urgent notification process, placing the prison under emergency measures and requiring the Justice Secretary to take immediate action to safeguard the lives of resident prisoners and prevent “further tragedies”.

In the past two years there have been eight self-inflicted deaths at HMP Nottingham. Fleur Hallett, solicitor in the Actions Against Public Authorities department at the firm is currently representing the family of  one of these men. Time and time again when representing bereaved families, they are not only searching for answers, but the inherent desire for public bodies to learn from mistakes and implement changes, to prevent other families having to suffer from the l0ss of a loved one. It is therefore devastating for these families to learn through the most recent inspection that HMP Nottingham have repeatedly failed to achieve recommendations made by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman and HM Prisons’ Inspectorate.

For further details, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons letter to the Justice Secretary can be read here:

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2018/01/17jan-sofs-nottingham-letter-and-debrief-pack-for-publication-1.pdf

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including bereaved families who deserve to know the circumstances of their loved ones death.

If you have a family member or loved one who died whilst in custody and wish to talk to one of our specialist Lawyers, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

Operation Kalmia

Bellamy Forde and Clare Evans of MW’s Civil and Commercial Litigation Division are instructed by Owen Crooks in pursuing claims of Misfeasance in Public Office and Malicious Prosecution against the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police arising from his wrongful conviction and subsequent acquittal in 2012.


Bellamy Forde
Bellamy Forde
Partner & Head of Civil & Commercial Litigation

Owen was convicted along with 5 others for the murder of Kevin Nunes, a drug dealer from the Whitmore Reans District of Wolverhampton in 2006.  After being convicted, a report was commission by the Court of Appeal which followed a disclosure made by a police officer.

It has subsequently come to light that Staffordshire Police’s Sensitive Policing Unit was riven with bad practice and ultimately, unlawful conduct in relation to a number of very important practices that underpin the Criminal Justice System.  That conduct subsequently led to the acquittal of Owen and others.  In turn, that led to the Independent Police Complaints Commission establishing an investigation (Operation Kalmia) into Staffordshire Police, a report that is eagerly awaited.

It has been reported that the report will criticise a number of police officers and the force as a whole. 

Owen eagerly awaits sight of that report as he seeks redress for the conduct of officers and the force as a whole with at least one newspaper describing the force as being  “out of control”.

Media and Press Reports

UPDATE (4th October 2017) - Operation Kalmia Report Published by IPCC

on 4th October the IPCC published their long awaited Operation Kalmia report of the investigation into Staffordshire Police.

 

Extradition Justice


MW Solicitors is proud to announce its ranking in the 2018 Chambers & Partners UK Guide for Crime: Extradition.


Despite being a newly formed Department, MW has been quickly recognised by fellow practitioners, Judges and clients alike as a leading firm specialising in this niche area of law.

The Department is well known for successfully challenging extradition requests from all over the world, focussing on complex and technical legal challenges as well as on human rights and political grounds. The Department has been involved in some of the most novel points of extradition law and has challenged requests from USA, Peru, Nigeria, Albania, Croatia and most other European Countries. It also advises on Mutual Legal Assistance and challenging Interpol Red Notices.

Chirag Patel - Partner, Head of Extradition and Deputy Head of Crime


Chirag Patel
Chirag Patel
Partner & Head of Extradition and Deputy Head of Crime

Ranking

Leader in the Field

Practice Areas

Chirag Patel practices in complex criminal defence and extradition law. He set up the Extradition Department at McMillan Williams in 2015 and heads a team of 11 talented lawyers. Chirag robustly and energetically challenges extradition requests and defends the rights of his clients with considerable success. Chirag also advises on Interpol Red Notices, their removal, Mutual Legal Assistance, and Human Rights. Recent highlights include representation in the only Nigerian extradition request (ongoing), being granted the first ever application for permission to appeal against extradition out of time, and securing discharge for a Requested Person allegedly involved in a €60million tax carousel fraud in Germany.

Career

Chirag qualified in 2003, obtained his Higher Rights of Audience in 2010 and was promoted to Partner in 2015.

Comments

Chirag Patel has "a very good way of breaking down something complicated and making it simple." Alongside his own work in extradition cases and appeals, he heads the extradition department and has been credited with "ensuring the firm maintains the highest of standards." One commentator notes: "He has a lovely manner with clients which means they have absolute trust in him."

We Can Help

If you need representation in a criminal defence or an extradition case, our talented and specialist Crime and Extradition Solicitors are here to help you.  Call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us form to arrange a callback.

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