DExEU – EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT – 18 January 2017

James Berry: ... The European Arrest Warrant has had a transformative effect on the ability of the police and prosecuting authorities to get those who need to face justice in the UK – whether relating to a prosecution or a prison sentence – back to the UK to do so. It bypasses the fiendishly complicated extradition rules that apply with respect to some other countries, because countries that are part of the European Arrest Warrant arrangements cannot refuse to extradite their own citizens, and there are legally mandated time limits during which extraditions have to take place. In 2015-16, 2,102 individuals were arrested in the UK and deported on European Arrest Warrants. Those were people we plainly did not want in this country. We have been able to repatriate more than 2,500 individuals from EU countries since we have been a member of the European Arrest Warrant system, including some well-known terrorists, serious criminals and paedophiles. There is a list of high-profile cases, but I will not go into it now. I agree with the hon. Member for West Ham (Lyn Brown) that this is the most effective extradition system in the world, and it would be madness if we were in a situation in which we had to leave it.

Dr Julian Lewis: I am not an expert on this subject, but there is concern that, under the European Arrest Warrant, UK citizens could find themselves extradited to other EU countries in which the justice system falls far short of what we would regard as adequate. Does my hon. Friend have any concerns about that?

James Berry: I am sure we will hear my right hon. Friend’s expertise in the defence field in a few moments. The starting point of the European Arrest Warrant system is that any country in it has a legal system that will give a British citizen a fair hearing, just as citizens of that country would have a fair hearing here. That is the starting assumption, and that was why the House approved our membership of the system. I accept that some people hold the view that my right hon. Friend describes – I mentioned that fact earlier – but, on balance, the majority of people in the House and in the country think that being a member of the European Arrest Warrant keeps us safer.

Robert Neill: Perhaps my hon. Friend would like to know that that was the view of the Criminal Solicitors Association, whose members largely represent defendants, and of the Criminal Bar Association. They agree that, on balance, membership of the European Arrest Warrant system is an advantage because it is a court-led system that involves judicial overview, unlike the classic extradition system, which is an Executive process.

James Berry: I thank my hon. Friend for his helpful intervention.