From today, 15 April 2015, there will no longer be an automatic right to appeal in Extradition proceedings. Section 160 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, changes the law so that applications for leave appeal have to be made to the High Court and a judge will determine whether or not the threshold is passed.
Instead of appealing the decision within seven days, the party who wishes to appeal will have to lodge a notice of application for leave to appeal within seven days. The legislation allows an appeal to be brought on a question of law or fact, but now specifies that the decision to bring an appeal 'lies only with the leave of the High Court.'
The decision will be made on paper initially and will be made on the 'reasonably arguable' test, which is yet to be expanded on. If refused on paper the application for permission can be renewed at an oral hearing through the appropriate applications.
The law has not changed in respect of the time limit for lodging the application for leave. This is still seven days from the day the order for extradition is made, which includes weekends and bank holidays.
However, a new provision has been inserted, which states that where a person gives notice of application for leave to appeal after the end of the permitted period, the High Court must not for that reason refuse to entertain the application if the person did everything reasonably possible to ensure that the notice was given as soon as it could be given. Whilst this is a welcome change and will prevent some of the injustices that have been seen in the past with otherwise valid applications for appeal refused on the basis of missing the deadline, it should not be seen as an invitation to serve out of time. The provision is intended as a safety net rather than as general extension of the time limit. Anyone who wants to appeal their extradition should contact an extradition solicitor immediately.
NGO's such as Liberty have heavily criticized the requirement for permission to appeal with the House of Lords Select Committee on extradition stating that it 'creates a serious risk that Requested People will not be able to make full use of the legal proceedings open to them and could be extradited without having been able to make their case properly'.
What is clear now more than ever is that people who have been arrested pursuant to an extradition request or those who fear arrest on an extradition request must seek expert legal advice from an extradition solicitor as soon as possible.