Extradition appeals on Brexit grounds seen as ‘speculative’

Main argument is there is no guarantee UK post-Brexit will maintain human rights standards

The “Brexit“ argument  is currently holding up between 10 and 20 pending extraditions from Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

The “Brexit“ argument is currently holding up between 10 and 20 pending extraditions from Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

 

The legal argument that extraditions from Ireland to the UK should be appealed due to Brexit is “speculative”, according to several legal sources.

The argument, which will soon be tested before the Supreme Court, is currently holding up between 10 and 20 pending extraditions from Ireland.

The challenge is based on the fact there is no guarantee the UK will remain part of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system when it leaves the EU or that a replacement deal will be put in place.

The main argument is that the EAW system is based on a mutual trust that the same standards of human rights will be upheld across the member countries, but there is no guarantee post-Brexit UK will maintain those standards.

Several lawyers practising in the area of extradition law described the argument as “speculative”.

In the international extradition system individuals will not be returned to some countries where there could be a risk to their life or a risk of torture.

There are some non-EU countries that subscribe to the EAW system, including Norway and Switzerland.

One source said the challenges to UK extradition orders in Ireland since the Brexit vote may be a case of exhausting all possible legal options.

Another lawyer said not all cases where individuals had pending orders for their return to the UK were attempting to use the “Brexit” appeal.

In October last year, before article 50 had been officially triggered, extradition appeals from two cases where lawyers attempted to use the Brexit argument were rejected by the High Court.