Clause 148 - The appropriate judge

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 16 January 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 9:45, 16 January 2003

I hope that no member of the Committee finds the clause contentious, despite what the Opposition said. It defines the appropriate judge who will be able to issue a part 3 warrant in response to an application from a constable. We envisage that judge to be a district judge, a justice of the peace or a judge entitled to exercise the jurisdiction of the Crown Court in Scotland, a sheriff in Northern Ireland, a resident magistrate or a Crown Court judge. Clause 141 refers to the appropriate judge as those persons who can issue a part 3 warrant. It is only right and proper that we define those people.

The situation is different with regard to outgoing requests. The people in this country who will be allowed to approve a part 3 warrant at the request of a constable are the same people who can issue domestic warrants. They have the necessary experience to perform that function. The issuing of a part 3 warrant would be appropriate if there was reason to believe that someone was living abroad. However, expertise is needed to deal with the reverse situation. We had the debate about whether a High Court judge should consider the case or whether it should be a district judge at the Bow street magistrates court. Not every district judge will deal with the reverse situation of dealing with requests from abroad. Judges who are designated for that purpose develop a level of expertise in dealing with requests from abroad. District judges in England and Wales are capable of dealing with those matters and developing the required expertise. It would not be necessary or appropriate to designate JPs for part 1 of the Bill. We certainly believe that there is no reason to depart from the practice of allowing the same people to designate a warrant for outgoing requests as are able to designate a domestic arrest warrant.