Criminal and financial crime

Extradition and international law

Extradition and mutual legal assistance

An introduction and overview

Extradition is a highly specialist field that is becoming more prominent as criminal investigations and prosecutions become increasingly international in scope.

Extradition requests happen when an individual in the UK is accused of having committed, or having been convicted of, a criminal offence in another country and their return to that country is required. Extradition can be requested for UK nationals and non-UK nationals. Often extradition requests have underlying political aspects.

Since the Extradition Act 2003 came into force, the number of extradition requests made to the UK from the EU has increased vastly, and this has continued post-Brexit. Requests from other countries have also become more common. Extradition is now routinely sought for relatively minor offences as well as in more serious cases.

Investigators outside the UK are also using a range of new investigative tools and powers to obtain evidence in this jurisdiction, through Mutual Legal Assistance. Police forces also work through Interpol to share intelligence. 

How our extradition and international law solicitors can help you

Being subject to an extradition request can be alarming and confusing, particularly as an arrest under an extradition warrant often takes place without any warning. It can also cause additional anxiety about reputational damage. Sound legal advice and guidance at the earliest stage are therefore essential.

Our team can advise and represent you if you’re the subject, or believe you may become the subject, of extradition requests from across the globe. We can help from the very start of your case before and at arrest, at the initial bail hearing, throughout subsequent proceedings to the extradition hearing and if need be through to appeal. Where possible, we negotiate with prosecutors to avoid formal extradition proceedings being started. Where proceedings are unavoidable we protect your interests fearlessly, exploring all legal and evidential bars to extradition, and particularly human-rights based defences.

We can also advise and represent you on applications by investigators abroad for evidence by way of Mutual Legal Assistance, and other international proceedings such as Worldwide Freezing Orders and Interpol Red Notices.

Why choose Russell-Cooke for extradition and international law?

About our criminal and financial crime team

We have huge experience and expertise in extradition and related international proceedings, particularly in cases involving complex or serious investigations and those with political considerations. We have advised on extradition cases involving the USA, India, Japan, Rwanda and many European countries. With clear strategic advice from the outset, we defend your interests tenaciously at each stage of the process. This will usually involve meticulous evidence gathering and analysis, instruction of carefully selected expert witnesses, and deployment of all available legal arguments including novel and imaginative ones. We work closely with our colleagues who specialise in immigration law where necessary.

Our extradition and international law experience

Notable work in this field has included:

  • R-v-CA -  representing an individual facing extradition to Belgium for human trafficking offences, in the first case under the Extradition Act to be heard in the then House of Lords.
  • R-v-M – representing an individual facing extradition to Rwanda for alleged offences arising from the 1994 genocide.
  • R-v-C  - representing an individual in an extradition request by India for alleged involvement in “match –fixing” in first class cricket.
  • R-v-K – representing an individual facing an extradition request by Japan in relation to an alleged jewellery robbery. 

Testimonials and legal directory quotes

Here are some comments made about us.

Martin Rackstraw is ranked in Chambers UK for his extradition practice, in particular for the "attention to detail and meticulous approach" he brings to complex cases.
Chambers UK (2023)

Charging information

The majority of the work we carry out in this field is privately funded. However we retain a contract with the Legal Aid Agency and, in exceptional cases, we may be able to offer representation under legal aid. At the outset of your case we will discuss the options with you and put into place a funding package that is affordable and manageable.

Get in touch

If you would like to speak with a member of the team you can contact our criminal and financial crime solicitors by email, by telephone on +44 (0)20 3826 7521 or complete our enquiry form.

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