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EAWs valid, despite failure to particularise Polish domestic arrest warrants

Goluchowski v District Court in Elblag, Poland; Sas v Circuit Court and District Court in Jelenia Gora, Poland [2016] UKSC 36

Related Member(s):
Julian B. Knowles QC, Clare Montgomery QC, Mark Summers QC
Related Practice Area(s):
Extradition and Mutual Assistance, Crime and Regulatory Law
Court:

The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the appeals in two cases that considered whether the failure to mention or particularise Polish domestic arrest warrants in European Arrest Warrants was contrary to the requirement in the Extradition Act 2003, s 2(6)(c), rendering the EAWs invalid.

The appellants were the subject of EAWs, as they were wanted in Poland for the purposes of serving prison sentences. The High Court dismissed their challenges to the extradition orders, but certified two questions for the Supreme Court. First, it had asked whether EAWs were defective for the purposes of the Extradition Act 2003, s 2(6)(c) if they failed to give particulars of the domestic warrants issued in the category 1 to enforce that judgment or order within the issuing state. Second, it asked if s 2(6)(c) only required the EAW to include the conviction of the requested person, rather than requiring the particularisation of the decision that required the serving of an immediate sentence and the decision following this which declared the person to be unlawfully at large.

Lord Mance gave the leading judgment, which other members agreed with. Lord Neuberger gave a short concurring judgment.

The Court considered that there were significant differences between the foundations on which EAWs issued for accusation and conviction cases rested. In conviction cases, the natural basis would be an enforceable judgment, and there was no reason why a domestic warrant would need to be evidenced in the EAW.

The Court held that it was unnecessary for the EAWs to contain evidence of the decisions resulting in the suspension of Mr Goluchowski’s original sentence and subsequent activation of it, nor of Mr Sas’ conditional release and subsequent revocation of that release. The EAW did not have to contain details of ever judicial decision by which the sentence became enforceable. This would be too complex and would run contrary to the principle of mutual confidence on which the regime was based. If the executing state wanted more information, it could request this from the requesting state.

Even if a reference to the activating decision should, strictly speaking, have been made in the EAW, this did not mean that it was not capable of execution, under European law or the 2003 Act.

Julian B. Knowles QC, Clare Montgomery QC, and Mark Summers QC were involved in this case.