Laura Herbert wins extradition appeal at the High Court.

11 June 2021

Laura Herbert has successfully argued for two European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) issued by Poland to be discharged on the grounds of both proportionality and under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The Appellant was wanted on a conviction warrant for theft and robbery offences, and an accusation warrant for possession of Class A and B drugs. He had served all but 1 1/2 months of the sentence in the conviction warrant.

The Judge was persuaded to discharge both warrants - the accusation warrant on ‘proportionality’ alone, and the conviction warrant under Article 8 ECHR, given the time already served. The case could have a wider impact as Cavanagh J accepted the following submissions:

  1. The District Judge was required to consider s.21A(1)(b) Extradition Act 2003 given the mandatory wording of the Act. Even where this hadn’t been raised by the Appellant's representatives at the extradition hearing.
  2. Cavanagh J was satisfied that he could consider the accusation warrant ‘proportionality’ exercise under s.21A(1)(b) separately (and discharged this warrant first) and then continue to consider the conviction warrant Article 8 ECHR merits. This somewhat dissents from the position taken in Zakrewski v Poland [2015] EWHC 3393 (Admin) para 21-24 that both warrants should be considered together.
  3. Possession of methamphetamine (8g), and cannabis (38g) was only ‘just’ outside the Practice Direction guidance and was not a serious offence.
  4. Returning to serve a short sentence, having served a large proportion in custody, could make it disproportionate under Article 8 ECHR despite the high public interest in extradition and upholding such arrangements (thereby approving the decision in Chechev v Bulgaria [2021] EWHC 427 (Admin)).

Laura was instructed by Bark & Co solicitors.

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