As the UK edges closer to the Brexit cliff edge Parliament has arranged for a large number of statutory instruments to be drafted to address the gaps created by the UK's withdrawal from the EU and enable "legal and operational certainty".
One such statutory instrument relates to the UK's loss of availability of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) as well as no longer being party to Europol and Eurojust. The new regulations, The Law Enforcement and Security (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, will provide alternative provisions to allow EU extradition requests to be processed once Britain no longer is party to the EAW ensuring that both the UK and the European Union can extradite and deal with individuals who commit crimes whilst overseas and will address the major criminal justice issues involving arms and ammunition, criminal law across the board, dangerous drugs, the proceeds of crime, the police and investigatory powers.
The future changes to the procedures raised concerns that Britons who are extradited from the UK may face languishing in foreign gaols for longer periods of time without the common agreement of the EAW. However, the previous government did give an undertaking that there would be no extraditions unless the country concerned was trial-ready. Britain has always been a keen fan of the EAW and the new regulations in the UK aim to be close to the provisions of the EAW when allowing EU extradition requests to be processed once Britain no longer in the European Union.
Once Britain leaves the EU the existing extradition requests where an arrest has been made will continue. The new arrangements will apply to individuals who have been arrested and thus far have not been the subject of an extradition request. The UK and the EU are committed to the maintenance of law and order support the criminal justice system. The new arrangements are likely to be slower and if you suspect that you will find yourself subject to an extradition request it would be wise to take steps to prepare for such an event as it would be an error to assume that because there had been a length of time before any steps had been taken it meant that nothing further would happen. It is essential to get legal representation in the country in which the offence took place. Giambrone's criminal team has multi-lingual lawyers in our European offices that can offer immediate assistance if you are arrested. Once you return home you can liaise with the criminal lawyers in our UK offices should there be a requirement for face-to-face meetings. All evidence in your favour, witness statements or any documentary evidence should be prepared in advance to avoid having to rush to gather vital evidence at the last minute or finding a witness no longer is inclined to speak on your behalf or you have lost contact. The more preparation given to your case the better the chance that your lawyer will be able to provide you with the best defence once a trial commences.
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