European Arrest Warrant: Judicial Recommendations (Video: English)


This video features District Judge Arbuthnot discussing the technical elements of the European Arrest Warrant (English language version).


The European Arrest Warrant Judicial Network Project, which was part funded by the European Commission, was a consultation of executing and issuing judges from all around Europe.

They put together, over the course of two years, a list of common problems that the judges had, and the point of this video is to try and deal with these problems so that when an issuing judge is writing a European Arrest Warrant he includes all the information that the executing judge will want to read.

And this, of course, not only will avoid delay, but will give the issuing judge a better chance of success – of getting the requested person sent back to the issuing judicial authority.

To make sure warrants have the best chance of simple and speedy execution, the executing judge will need sufficient detail on the facts and circumstance of the offence to identify the offence with which the requested person is charged.

In both accusation and conviction cases, these are the sort of things that should be in the warrant and that are sometimes lacking.

The date and location of the offence, for each offence.

The offence and the particular role the requested person played in it, so you’ll need to include the circumstances of the specific offence, what the requested person actually did, not just general information on that offence.

Whether an offence was an offence in a particular Member State on the date of the offence.

The reason for any delay in issuing the warrant and whether a domestic warrant has been issued. You could include a chronology to help the executing authority understand the reasons for any delay between the offence, any court proceedings and the issuing of the warrant. If the reason for the delay is that knowledge of the requested person’s current location has only been acquired recently, then say that on the warrant.

The maximum penalties for each offence and whether the sentence may be served in the executing Member State.

Any applicable domestic time bars of statutes of limitation.

Information about life imprisonment – is it reviewed after a set period of time – and any human rights considerations, for instance Article 8 of the ECHR.

Information about the bail situation – was the requested person on bail, what were the bail conditions and did he or she breach them? If there are written bail conditions, the executing authority might need to see them.

That you’ve considered proportionality, dual criminality, double jeopardy and properly completed the framework list section of the warrant.

In conviction cases, the executing authority will also need information about the circumstances of an in absentia trial, for instance whether the requested person was represented by someone he or she instructed, or had a technical representative, appointed by the court. Was the requested person aware of the date of the hearing and what efforts were made to locate him or her.

Whether there are any guarantees of re-trial in in absentia cases. If the original sentence was suspended, why and when was it activated and how much time remains to be served.

In each Member State, the executing judge will have to follow the procedures laid down in their own legislation, for instance, the Extradition Act 2003 in England and Wales imposes a different set of standards than are found in the Framework Decision. There may be considerations to bear in mind which are particular to a specific Member State, for instance in England and Wales almost every case involves arguments on the right to family life, Article 8, so proportionality is an important consideration then.

In conclusion, above all, please look at it, look at the issuing of the warrant, from the perspective of the executing judicial authority. If you do that, you can’t go wrong.