Clause 29 - Court's powers on appeal under section 28

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 14 January 2003.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 10:30, 14 January 2003

If we accepted the amendment, there would be some dangers and unintended consequences, which the hon. Gentleman admitted in principle. He said that the amendment was about toughening up the Bill, but it would change the powers of the court on appeals by the requesting state against the decision to discharge a fugitive. I do not think that it toughens up the Bill, as he suggests. It would provide

that such an appeal could be successful only if the circumstances of the case were exceptional.

In practice, all those cases might be exceptional, but who will decide whether that is so? Such a stipulation would open up a whole new area of legal argument and potential delay. Moreover, imagine the circumstances in which a court decided that, on balance at appeal, the requesting state's request should be upheld, but also concluded that there was nothing exceptional about the case. Despite the fact that the court believed that the appeal should be upheld and that the person should be extradited, it would be unable to extradite that person because there were no exceptional circumstances.

The Court of Appeal has the powers that it needs to hear appeals from the defendant and from the requesting state, and to decide whether the right decision has been taken. The amendment would not add anything to the Bill, but would introduce a real complication.