Clause 53 - Presumed consent to other

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:00 am on 14th January 2003.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 11:00 am, 14th January 2003

I think that I shall withdraw my welcome to the hon. Gentleman. In his absence—I understand the reasons why he was absent—we have debated the principles of mutual recognition. I repeat that we are not setting out on the road to corpus juris across the European Union: the provision is an alternative to it.

We have some basic choices. We could stand firm on our British justice system and maintain barriers to our ability to co-operate with our European partners, or we could accept that in a world where criminals as well as law-abiding citizens can move freely between borders, we need a higher degree of co-operation to secure the rights of victims and to promote justice. If we believe in making changes accordingly, two answers are possible. We either seek to establish corpus juris at the European level, or we enter into effective mutual recognition arrangements. That means saying to other EU countries that we

recognise that their justice systems secure fairness, and in return they have to recognise ours. I have already acknowledged that big steps forward are still required. Presently, Austrian nationals cannot be extradited to this country when they commit certain crimes, and other extradition problems can result in British victims.