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VANDA PUCEVICIENE v LITHUANIAN JUDICIAL AUTHORITY & ORS [2016] EWHC 1862 (Admin)

This was an intersting extraition appeal involving a galaxy of top extradition lawyers including eminent extradition QC's.

The case centred of the applicaiton of s12A of the Extradtition Act 2003 and the interpretation of that section in light of foreign legal procedures.

Essentially, s12A prevents extradition in accustation warrant cases (as opposed to conviction warrant cases) where the requesting judicial authority has not made a decision to charge or try the requested person i.e. where the case is still under investigation.

A complicating feature of theses cases is that extradition lawyers will agrue that decisions to try or prosecute have not occured and foreign legal systems often do not make such clear distinctions between investigation, charge, and trial as our system. Indeed, as the Lord Chief Justice said, our system to some extent blurs the lines between these things as investigations in this counrty continue after charge and often during trial.

The Lord Chief Justice re-affirmied that extradition lawyers must be aware that the courts adopt a 'cosmopolitan interpretive approach' and will take full account of the differing systems of law. Also with the use of the request for further information procedure in the 2003 Act, the court can obtain further information from the requesting judicial authority to clarify the position.

It was noted that top extradition lawyers can extend and complicate this procedure way beyond what was envisaged by Parliament which desired a 'swift' procedure. The Lord Chief Justice also mooted the possibility of the court communicating directly with the requesting judicial authority which may speed things up and make the process more transparent.