Extradition: what the family lawyer needs to know
Extradition, the formal process where one country requests another to return a person in order to stand trial or to serve a sentence, arises relatively infrequently in the family courts. When it does it can present challenging difficulties for the family lawyer particularly where the family and extradition courts are taking conflicting or diametrically opposed decisions.
In Ford v Halil  EWHC 1213 (Fam), for example, difficulties arose where an abduction gave rise to a criminal offence contrary to CAA 1984 s1, but for the left behind parent there was no guarantee that the extradited parent would facilitate the return of the children. In other circumstances, a requesting state may seek extradition of a parent who is the primary or sole carer of a child, or in rare cases both parents. In such cases, care proceedings may already be ongoing or may be necessitated by the prospect of a child being left without a suitable carer.
The extradition and family courts do not have an established record of cooperation. There are some examples of “real assistance” from a family judge to an extradition judge (PA v Portugal  EWHC 331) who subsequently highlighted the interrelationship between their decisions. Family lawyers need to be aware of how this can be managed when the two courts have different statutory frameworks and public policy considerations.
This post was written for Coram’s international children law blog and is featured in our September 2019 newsletter. To subscribe, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our International Children Law team has extensive experience in public and private child disputes. We act as family law barristers on a range of international children law matters, including relocation, Hague and non-Hague child abduction, international surrogacy, and cases of contested jurisdiction.