Overview of court procedure
Issues conference and case management
8.24We think that an important next step after a respondent has first appeared in Court should be a subsequent appearance at a conference presided over by the judge. Whether the simplified or standard procedure applies, we see the step of a conference as assisting the timely disposition of the proceeding.
8.25In a simplified extradition case, the Issues Conference will usually be the next step after the first appearance. The purpose of the Issues Conference is spelt out in our Bill, but the overarching purpose is to check on details, ascertain what is in dispute and ready the case for hearing.
8.26For a standard extradition case, more steps in the process will be required. That is because these cases will involve an evidential inquiry, as we discuss in Chapter 9. That inquiry will require the Court to assess a Record of the Case prepared by the requesting country. The Record of the Case will summarise the evidence that is available for trial in the requesting country. Depending on the complexity of the criminal case against the person sought, the requesting country may need more or less time to prepare the record in the appropriate form. We have recognised this by stating that a “preliminary conference” must occur in standard extradition cases within 15 working days of the first appearance. At that conference, the Court should set dates for the disclosure of the Record of the Case and the Issues Conference, in consultation with the parties. The only rule is that the Issues Conference must be held at least 15 working days after the Record of the Case has been filed to give the respondent sufficient time to become familiar with it.
8.27Our view is that it is important for the Court to prescribe reasonable timeframes in both standard and simplified cases. These conferences are a way to ensure that extradition cases proceed to hearing in a fair and efficient manner.
8.28Shortly, we set out the nature of the extradition hearing and our recommended procedure. At a conference, one of the enquiries the judge might make is whether or not the extradition hearing could benefit from being in two parts: the first to decide whether or not extradition should be ordered; and the second, whether, having regard to any ground for refusal that is raised, that order should be made or not. Efficient disposition of the case will be assisted by a judge addressing these issues at the Issues Conference.