Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Independent review of the UK's extradition arrangements published

The Independent review of the United Kingdom's extradition arrangements has just been published by the Home Office. It looks like bad news for Gary McKinnon who is facing extradition to the US and is potentially embarrassing for the coalition government which commissioned the review at least partly because of the McKinnon case. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in particular, prior to the last election, was a vocal supporter of McKinnon and stern critic of what he called the "lopsided" extradition agreement with the US.

Specifically on the imbalance in extradition provisions between the UK and US, however, the report concludes:

"The United States/United Kingdom Treaty
1.20 We have concluded that the United States/United Kingdom Treaty does not operate in
an unbalanced manner. The United States and the United Kingdom have similar but
different legal systems. In the United States the Fourth Amendment to the
Constitution ensures that arrest may only lawfully take place if the probable cause test
is satisfied: in the United Kingdom the test is reasonable suspicion. In each case it is
necessary to demonstrate to a judge an objective basis for the arrest.
1.21 In our opinion, there is no significant difference between the probable cause test and
the reasonable suspicion test.
1.22 In the case of extradition requests submitted by the United States to the United
Kingdom, the information within the request will satisfy both the probable cause and
the reasonable suspicion tests.
1.23 In the case of extradition requests submitted by the United Kingdom to the United
States the request will contain information to satisfy the probable cause test.
1.24 There is no practical difference between the information submitted to and from the
United States. "

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