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Arrest Warrants

Volume 493: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what implications there are for his Department of proposed changes under Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA to trial absences before the issue of a European arrest warrant. (277090)

The UK welcomes this framework decision, since it will ensure that there is consistency and clarity throughout Europe regarding the circumstances in which a European arrest warrant should be executed, where the person has been tried in their absence. It will not require us to change our law regarding when a trial may proceed in a person’s absence. In operational terms, when it has come into force we will need to ensure that our authorities are using the revised European arrest warrant form. This will be picked up in the implementation phase of the framework decision when this Department will work alongside colleagues in the Home Office and others, including the judiciary and devolved Administrations on detailed aspects of implementation.

I do not believe that the Council framework decision on trials in absentia will have significant implications for my Department. It will ensure that our authorities can be satisfied that a person is only being sent back to another MS following a trial in their absence in appropriate circumstances.