Clause 73 - Person arrested under a provisional warrant

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 14th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 2:45 pm, 14th January 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 159, in

clause 73, page 38, line 11, leave out '40' and insert '7'.

The amendment relates to another concern of the Law Society with which we agree. It is designed to replace the period of 40 days with seven days, thereby reducing the routine time in which a person could be

remanded on a provisional warrant. The 40-day period is an unacceptably long blanket period for a person to be under suspicion. The Minister will doubtless tell us that it already happens under current arrangements, but a period of 28 days is more common in provisions dealing with remands. We all know that the courts often remand people for 28 days, 14 days or seven days. We believe that under the new system of provisional warrants, while waiting for a full arrest warrant, the remand period should be much shorter. We would be happier, as would the Law Society of England and Wales, if the Government were to change the 14 days to seven days or even to 28 days, and to provide the opportunity to apply for an extension of time in exceptional circumstances.

Before the Minister says so, we are not being silly or trivial, or trying to row back from the previous position. We feel strongly about this issue, as does the Law Society of England and Wales. Certain requesting states may be given longer without showing any exceptional circumstances relating to the request for extradition.

Whatever the current situation might be under extradition law, we are discussing provisional warrants and a new system of extradition law—the European arrest warrant is a totally new animal. The Government have introduced this Bill because of the European arrest warrant and the framework directive. The Bill will put all those new arrangements into force. This is therefore an opportunity to re-examine the situation and to see what is appropriate. The Law Society of England and Wales are right to say that the period should not be 40 days for a provisional warrant: that is too long.