Overview of court procedure
8.29An extradition hearing is not designed for the purpose of determining guilt or innocence, and so, it is not undertaken in a procedural nature directly comparable to a criminal trial. Nor is an extradition hearing recognisably a civil matter. The adopted procedure borrows from both criminal and civil areas. Accordingly, disclosure should be tailored to the Court’s specialised task. It is important for the respondent to know the basis upon which the request to extradite has been made and what evidence is relied upon. It is equally important for the respondent to be aware that the hearing does not present an opportunity to raise issues of guilt or innocence, and thus completely departs from both civil and criminal trials in that important respect.
8.30The Record of the Case is designed to disclose to the respondent a summary of the evidence the requesting country is relying upon to justify their extradition request. However, the judge will have the power to adjourn the case if, in the judge’s view, the Central Authority should be given the opportunity to obtain further information or evidence from the requesting country. It is worth making the point that we are talking here about information or evidence that is necessary in order to understand the Record of the Case and to determine whether it proves that there is a case to answer. We consider that this adjournment process appropriately recognises that the Central Authority is the applicant in the proceedings, and should be responsible for communicating with the requesting country.
8.31Of course this disclosure will occur at different stages. When a NIP is filed, it will be at the initial arrest stage. When in standard cases the Record of the Case is filed – and this will occur before the Issues Conference – most of the relevant information should be to hand. The judge can request further information from the Central Authority if that seems important. Finally, when the stage has been reached for the extradition hearing, both parties must disclose any evidence they intend to rely upon relevant to a ground for refusal. We think it entirely proper that complete disclosure occurs before the extradition hearing so that the subsequent steps can occur on an informed basis, particularly since disclosure is a fundamental right for the person sought.
- R22 Extradition legislation should specify what must be disclosed as part of the proceedings.