Extradition & mutual legal assistance

Three Raymond Buildings has been at the forefront of extradition law for over fifty years and is the leading set in this field. From the Pinochet case, in which we were instructed on all sides of the proceedings, to, most recently, United States v Gary McKinnon and South Africa v Dewani, we have acted in many of the landmark cases and, as such, have been instrumental in shaping the development of extradition law.

The depth and breadth of expertise and experience within Chambers means that we are able to advise any party at all stages of the extradition process. We regularly advise and represent requesting judicial authorities and foreign governments, the Secretary of State, and requested individuals, from the initial hearing in the magistrates’ court through to appellate proceedings before the High Court, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. We also advise on UK requests for extradition as well as on extradition proceedings in foreign and Commonwealth jurisdictions.

Our unparalleled reputation in this field is sustained by recognised extradition specialists at all levels of call. Clive Nicholls QC is co-author of the leading textbook, The Law of Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance (OUP), and senior members of Chambers act as expert witnesses on matters of UK extradition law in foreign jurisdictions and contribute to lectures and seminars both domestically and internationally. Several junior members have gained invaluable experience from their secondments to the Extradition Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Notable cases

House of Lords/Supreme Court

  • Bennett (extradition from South Africa; landmark case on abuse of power and disguised extradition)
  • Cando Armas (first case before the House of Lords dealing with the Extradition Act 2003)
  • Dabas (Spanish request in relation to suspect in Madrid bombings)
  • Hilali (US request for alleged 9/11 co-conspirator; availability of the remedy of habeas corpus in extradition proceedings under the 2003 Act)
  • Ismail (German request for fraud offences; principal decision on who is an ‘accused’)
  • Kozeny (US request to Bahamas for extradition of ‘Pirate of Prague’)
  • McKinnon (US request relating to alleged Pentagon computer hacking)
  • Pinochet (Spanish request for former Chilean dictator for torture offences)
  • Wellington (US request for a man accused of double murder; now leading authority)

European Court of Human Rights

  • Abu Hamza (US request for extradition of Muslim cleric in connection with terrorist offences)
  • Ahmad and Aswat (US request relating to terrorist activities)
  • Soering (landmark decision which established that the extradition of a German national from UK to face death row in USA would constitute inhuman and degrading treatment)

High Court and Court of Appeal

  • Bajinya (Brown) and others (Rwandan request for 4 accused genocidaires)
  • Bermingham and others (US request for the “Nat West Three” accused of fraud offences relating to the collapse of Enron)
  • Dewani (extradition request from South Africa following the murder of Mr Dewani’s wife on their honeymoon)
  • Raissi (US request for pilot accused of complicity in the terrorist attacks of 11th September 2001)
  • Tollman (US request for British hotelier accused of fraud and tax offences; leading authority on abuse of process in extradition proceedings)

Mutual legal assistance

We are experts in mutual legal assistance and are instructed regularly by the UK authorities to advise upon and draft letters of request to foreign jurisdictions. We also provide advice and representation to individuals and companies affected by mutual legal assistance requests, including potential suspects and witnesses, and offer advice regarding their rights and possible grounds for challenging the process.

We provide advice to foreign governments wishing to make requests to the UK to obtain evidence for their own domestic proceedings and representation in any subsequent legal challenges brought by the subject of such a request.