Our solicitors are regularly asked to advise on and represent individuals whose extradition is sought by a foreign state in order to stand trial or serve a sentence. 

Post-Brexit, the UK is no longer a member of the European Arrest Warrant scheme. The extradition procedure in relation to European Union states now takes place under a new legal framework in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed on 31 December 2020. Requests from outside the EU are made under individual treaties signed with particular countries. 

In recent years our solicitors have secured discharges in extradition requests made by numerous countries, both inside and outside the EU. We have successfully opposed such requests on procedural, technical and human rights grounds and on both accusation and conviction warrants. Notably we secured a discharge in the first extradition request made by the Republic of Kosovo to the UK.  

All extradition cases start at Westminster Magistrates Court with the requested person being arrested on an arrest warrant. Where an extradition request is known to be pending, early engagement with the National Crime Agency and Crown Prosecution Service can facilitate an organised surrender in order to avoid an untimely arrest, and to put in place an acceptable bail package.  

We are also well placed to assist individuals based abroad whose extradition is requested by the British authorities. We have established links with lawyers within Europe and beyond. In conjunction with your lawyers in the foreign jurisdiction, we can advise on any bars to extradition which would prevent a person being extradited into the UK or limit the exposure to potential criminal liability. 

Interpol Red Notices and Mutual Legal Assistance

We are experienced in advising people who are the subject of a UK criminal investigation but who live in another country or who are resident in the UK but are accused of committing a crime or witnessing a crime elsewhere. We represent people who may become the subject of international criminal measures such as an Interpol Red Notice. Thousands of these requests to arrest are live at any one time and are often made for dubious, politically motivated reasons or on incomplete or false information.

We are also experienced in helping people who find themselves subject to a request made under the Mutual legal Assistance (‘MLA’) scheme. Mutual Legal Assistance allows information gathering and sharing between countries and where an MLA request is made a foreign prosecuting authority could ask the UK police to interview you. You can be asked to provide a witness statement, give ‘live’ testimony or hand over documents or even samples of your DNA or handwriting, you may also be subject to intrusive surveillance.  

To help you, we work with an international network of fiercely independent and skilled criminal defence lawyers, human rights experts and legal academics. We are currently working on international cases in France, Spain, Hungary, The Netherlands, Turkey, Thailand, and the United States. These cases involve allegations of murder, fraud, drug importation and sexual offences.

International Criminal Law and Human Rights

The criminalisation of the work of non-governmental organisations (‘NGOs’) and charities, whether they are defending the human rights of marginalised communities or delivering aid to vulnerable people, is the unfortunate consequence of populist political rhetoric that has increased in Europe and across the globe. In an increasingly globalised world, criminality and issues of criminal justice cross borders more frequently than ever before.

Commons provides specialist international criminal and humanitarian law advice to NGOs and charities who conduct politically sensitive work around the world. This includes: 

  • Investigating the legality of a prosecution by an individual state by reference to international standards on fair trials 
  • Considering the merits of litigation at the European Court of Human Rights 
  • Drafting legal submissions to the Council of Europe or relevant body of the United Nations 
  • Advising on European Union law and state action at the International Court of Justice 
  • Advising on the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court 
  • Submitting third party interventions in legal proceedings in England and Wales 

If your organisation needs help in relation to its activities, on assessments of risk or if you have a campaign that needs clarity on key aspects of international criminal law and human rights, we can work with you whether or not you have an in-house legal team. The lawyers at Commons also frequently work with legal teams in jurisdictions outside of the United Kingdom. 

As a non-profit law firm, we are uniquely positioned to provide expert legal services funded by foundations and institutions, connecting the most important political causes to the best insights on the law, in a cost-effective way.