Thursday 5 March 2020
Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill [HL]
Committee (1st Day)
My Lords, if there is a Division in the Chamber while we are sitting, the Committee will adjourn as soon as the Division Bells are rung and resume after 10 minutes.
Clause 1 agreed.
1: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause—
“Report on risk of abuse in Interpol Red Notices
(1) The Secretary of State must, before the end of the period of 12 months beginning on the day this Act is passed, lay before both Houses of Parliament an assessment of the reliability of Interpol Red Notices as a basis for arrest under this Act.(2) The report must include an assessment of the extent to which there is a risk of abuse by territories issuing notices.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment would require the Secretary of State to prepare and publish a report on Interpol Red Notices.
My Lords, Amendment 1 in my name seeks to add a new clause to the Bill that would require the Secretary of State, within 12 months of the Bill becoming law, to lay before Parliament
“an assessment of the reliability of Interpol Red Notices as a basis for arrest”
under the Bill. That assessment must address the extent to which there is a risk of abuse of the red notice system. There are eight different types of Interpol notice, but most of the recent controversy has been over the red notices. My amendment seeks to shed some light on them to ensure that they are used properly; that, where we are complying with a request under a notice, we are more confident that we are working towards getting them to be more accurate; and that the risk of their being politically motivated is drawn out.
We have to recognise that some of Interpol’s member countries do not have as good a human rights record as others. There are allegations of corruption against some and some regimes have been accused of using red notices for political purposes to attempt to capture dissidents and people who oppose them. That is why I want to hear from the Minister how we will ensure that they are not abused.
Amendment 2 in my name, also in this group, is very straightforward. It would require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament, again, within 12 months and every 12 months after that, to provide us with a statement that ensures that what happens under the Act complies with Section 4 of the Equality Act 2010. I hope the Minister will be able to respond positively to both amendments, which are simple, straightforward and attempt to address issues of concern by providing information useful to government, policymakers and Parliament. I beg to move.
My Lords, red notices are indeed controversial because they are open to abuse by authoritarian regimes seeking the apprehension of dissidents or “criminals” whose crime is dissidence. The House has talked about abuse in the cases of Russia, China, Turkey and a number of other countries. I understand that there are also sometimes queries about red notices from Latin American and Middle Eastern states. Of course there is a risk of political abuse, corruption and malicious notices.
I had forgotten, but recalled when I was preparing for today, the case of the footballer granted refugee status and residence in Australia three years ago, after fleeing Bahrain. He was arrested on his honeymoon in Thailand and held in detention for a while until he got back to Australia. Questions were raised about Interpol’s neutrality. I appreciate that reforms have been introduced over the past five or so years, but controversies do and will continue over red notices and Interpol’s diffusions, which serve as an international alert mechanism.
It is important to have as much transparency and availability of information as possible on how the recipient of the notice treats its subject, which is why the involvement of the judiciary at a later stage has such importance, and on how the NCA or any other designated authority triages the information—we seem to have adopted that term.
The fact that there is a risk of abuse seems no reason not to proceed with the legislation and I acknowledge that the amendment does not propose that. In any event, I understand that the certificate, not the red notice, is the basis for arrest, which is an important distinction.
I wonder whether this is the moment to ask the Minister about the EU’s future relationship with other European countries. The document published last week on the future relationship refers to achieving extradition arrangements with
“appropriate further safeguards for individuals beyond those in the European Arrest Warrant.”
I am sorry that I did not think to warn the Minister that I would ask this, but I imagine that it is pretty much at the top of everybody’s minds. What are the “appropriate further safeguards”? In other words, what are the problems with European arrest warrants that led to that statement in the document?
I am a member of your Lordships’ EU Select Committee. We took evidence on Tuesday about the future relationship. I asked an academic who was giving evidence what he thought this was about. He said that it was probably about human rights concerns. Of course, the noble Baroness will understand that I will not object to human rights safeguards.
On the noble Lord’s second amendment, as I have said, transparency is important. However, I was not aware that there was a major concern about discrimination, which is what is protected—as it were—by the protected characteristics. One would perhaps want to know the situation in other countries. I thank him for raising the issues and giving us the chance to discuss these subjects.
My Lords, if I may, I shall raise one small point. We are talking here about the ability to effect an arrest, not an obligation on the person who discovers and identifies somebody who is suspicious and to be arrested. To clarify, if it against public policy for somebody to be extradited, there is no obligation on the person concerned who has been granted this power to carry out the arrest. Is that correct?
My Lords, I assume that the process of extradition occurs under judicial control after the arrest and after the person arrested is in the custody of the judiciary or under the control of the arrangements made by the judiciary. That is quite important. In most of the speeches made at Second Reading, we distinguished between the Executive and the judiciary. They are two distinct parts of government. It is the Executive’s responsibility to take people before the judiciary, which is then responsible for how they are treated, subject to the Executive sometimes being part of the treatment afterwards. It is important to distinguish between the two. Therefore, it is acceptable that the authority deciding whether this arrest should go ahead is not a judicial authority but the responsible executive authority.
As far as both amendments are concerned, the information sought is reasonable and might be subject to risk, but it would be very easy, particularly if there seemed to be any public concern about the matter, for a parliamentarian to raise this as a Parliamentary Question, rather than have an obligation on the Secretary of State to keep to a time when there might not be much in the way of information to put out. I can see why these arrangements are a subject of public interest, but the Parliamentary Question system is a good way to deal with that as and when they seem important.
I support what my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay just said. There is a fundamental distinction between the Executive branch and the legal branch. My objection to the Bill is that it includes a country where that division is nothing like as strong as ours. One of the issues is that these mechanisms for extradition are politically motivated in one of the five countries. The distinction between the Executive and the judicial system is crucial in people’s protection. Therefore, I very much support my noble and learned friend making that distinction, which distinguishes us and four of the other countries from the fifth. We ought to underline that very strongly.
My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have made their points on these amendments and the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, for moving Amendment 1. To recap, at Second Reading there was considerable cross-party consensus on the Bill’s aims and measures, alongside the robust scrutiny that I expect from the House, and now the Committee. The amendments before us rightly tease out some of those points.
Noble Lords will be interested to know that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill QC, wrote to the new Security Minister on 2 March. His letter, which I will put in the Library following Committee, says:
“Overall, it is the firm view of the CPS that this Bill strikes the right balance between ensuring sufficient human rights safeguards and delivering the capabilities that the police and CPS require in order to safeguard the public … under the current process there remains a risk that UK law enforcement could encounter a potentially dangerous person wanted for a serious crime by a trusted partner, but for whom they would have no power to arrest and detain … The Bill does not make it more or less likely someone will be extradited, but it does increase the chances that persons wanted for serious offences by some of our closest and trusted partners will enter, with all the existing safeguards, the extradition process.”
I know that reporting on the effectiveness of the legislation, and the reliability of Interpol alerts, is a topic of interest. If the Committee will allow it, I will address Amendments 1 and 2 together as both concern reporting on the legislation’s effectiveness.
On the perceived risk of abuse of Interpol notices highlighted in Amendment 1, I reassure the Committee that the immediate power of arrest proposed in the Bill will apply only to requests from specified countries—currently the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. These countries have been specified as we have a high level of confidence in their criminal justice systems and use of Interpol notices. The Government have no intention of specifying countries likely to abuse the system to political ends.
Additionally, the UK is currently working with Interpol to ensure that its rules are robust, effective and complied with. The former chief constable of Essex was recently made the executive director of policing services for Interpol, the most senior operational role in that organisation. A UK government lawyer has also been seconded to the Interpol legal service to work with it to ensure that Interpol rules are properly robust and adhered to by Interpol member states. We will continue to work with Interpol to increase the reliability and trustworthiness of the whole red notice system.
International organisations such as Interpol are critical to our vision of a global Britain and international law enforcement co-operation beyond the EU. Interpol provides a secure channel through which we exchange information, on a police-to-police basis, for action. It is important to remember that we are putting our trust in particular countries and that we will certify certain international arrest requests from only those countries, not any other Interpol notices. An arrest request from our trusted partners may be in the form of an Interpol notice, but it will be certified not because of the method by which it is sent to us but because it comes from a specified country and is for a serious offence.
The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, asked about the safeguards that will be provided that go beyond those provided for under the EAW and what they will be. We are seeking to enshrine important safeguards in our extradition arrangements, including the ability for a judge in the UK to dismiss a warrant from an EU member state on the basis of proportionality and, if there has not yet been a decision, to charge and try the wanted person. Judges will also be required to establish that the offence is also an offence in the UK—we discussed that the other day, I remember. We will also retain the ability of courts to refuse extradition on the basis that it is incompatible with the requested person’s human rights.
My noble friend Lord Deben asked about political motivation by “one country”. We do not accept that any of the countries concerned will be in the habit of making politically motivated requests. All those specified have justice systems in which the Government are prepared to put their trust.
Did my noble friend notice that the President of the United States has just taken credit for 3,000 judicial appointments and said that he has therefore ensured that those judicial appointments will make decisions in line with his and Republican Party policy? How can one possibly say that this is the same kind of judicial system that we have?
A judge would take a view on whether something was politically motivated. Something blatantly politically motivated would be rejected.
I understand that, and we have the protection that the request has to go before a judge but, in this document, the Government give accreditation to the United States, which has no reciprocal arrangements with us, and talk about a “trusted partner” when it is not a partner. It will not do this the other way around and, clearly, it asks for the extradition of people on political or commercial grounds, which would not happen with Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. We are saying something about the United States that surely none of us believes.
I think my noble friend is referring to the Extradition Act itself, not the pre-extradition arrest process. I do not know whether he is questioning the Extradition Act’s efficacy, but that is not what we are talking about in the Bill. He also has an amendment down for later in Committee so perhaps we could come back to this at that stage if he wants to make further points.
I am happy to do that; I merely say to my noble friend that I have tabled the amendment and wish to discuss it because this is our opportunity to do so and we are repeating our view. My noble friend is using phrases that are, I think, unsuitable, given the relationship. We are, after all, extending—perfectly properly, I think—the way the Extradition Act works. It seems reasonable at this point, before we go any further, to question whether one ought to use those phrases in these circumstances.
We will get on to my noble friend’s point, but we use Parliament to make law rather than to make points. I hope he will respect the point that I make.
The noble Lord, Lord Inglewood, asked about obligation to extradite. He is absolutely right. The Bill creates powers for the police, not obligations to other countries.
Amendment 2 requests the publication of an annual statement on arrests. The NCA already keeps data and publishes statistics around arrest volumes in relation to Part 1 of the Extradition Act. It does it without being required to do so by primary legislation. We have no doubt that it will similarly do so in respect of arrests under this new arrest power, as this is a sensible operational practice. I have sympathy for the amendment, so I have asked officials to look at how we can give the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, some reassurance. I hope he will accept that I will liaise with him between now and Report.
I am not persuaded that the either the Secretary of State or the NCA require a statutory obligation to take these steps. I hope I have been able to persuade the noble Lord not to press his amendments, but we will have further discussions between now and Report.
My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have spoken in this short debate. I am obviously happy to withdraw my amendment for the moment.
I agree with the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Inglewood. The noble Lord, Lord Deben, has also made some important points, which I know we will come to later.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, mentioned Parliamentary Questions. Sometimes, the Answers we get are not very good, to say the least. That goes across government. I am going to have to start tabling Questions about Parliamentary Answers. I asked one recently of another department. I asked, “What do we here?” and the Answer had no bearing whatever on the Question. I raised that with the Minister concerned and he accepted that. I thought, “Just answer the Question. If you can’t answer it, tell me you can’t answer it.” They had sent back a ridiculous Answer that had no bearing and it is not good enough. Unfortunately, that is a problem across government. Maybe we need a debate in the House about it. I am going to try putting in FoIs and comparing answers between PQs and FoIs. Will the answers be as bad there? We will see. But that is a separate issue. I would love to think that PQs were the answer; unfortunately, in my experience of being here for nearly 10 years, they are not.
Having said that, I am pleased with the Minister’s response, especially to my second amendment. I look forward to further discussions between now and Report. On that basis, I am happy to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment 1 withdrawn.
Amendment 2 not moved.
Clause 2 agreed.
3: The Schedule, page 2, leave out lines 17 to 19
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment precludes the period of imprisonment extending beyond 24 hours before the person is brought before a judge.
My Lords, I tabled this amendment following the speech of the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Clark of Calton, at Second Reading. She raised the issue of the time that a suspect—the person who has been arrested—might spend in custody before coming before the court. Someone arrested on the Friday before a bank holiday weekend might not go before the court until the Tuesday, if one excludes weekends and bank holidays. The impact assessment tells us that the legislation is likely to involve only half a dozen people, so without wanting to impose too much on our judiciary—I accept that it is pretty hard pressed these days—I do not see that it would be too much of an extra strain on them or on the police to deal with these matters over the weekend.
I am grateful to the Minister for calling me just before we started the Committee stage to say that, basically, I had got the drafting wrong. Okay, this is what Committee stages are about: to raise issues and to see how we can deal with them. The schedule provides that in calculating the 24-hour period before a person is brought before a judge, no account is taken of weekends, bank holidays and so on. Reference is made to provision elsewhere. I understand that the noble Lord, Lord Parkinson, will deal with this matter. I look forward to him explaining this to me because I believe the argument is that that would mean that no one could be arrested on a Saturday or a Sunday. I am not quite sure that I follow that, but no doubt he will put that right.
When the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Clark, spoke at Second Reading on 4 February, she asked, at col. 1743, for some statistics on the number of arrests. I thought I should check on whether those have been made available. It may be that the matter was not pursued, the Minister having spoken to her. But as she said then, if there is a problem in relation to extradition to category 2 territories, the solution might be better co-ordination between the police and the judiciary to enable a warrant to be obtained at an early stage, or the involvement of the judiciary in a screening process instead of the designated authority. This is a useful opportunity for us to consider these points and I beg to move.
I rise briefly to welcome the noble Lord, Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay. If he will now be covering some Home Office matters, we will be spending a lot of time together and will get know each other well, so that will be welcome.
The amendment moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, is very sensible and I am happy to support it. She set out the issue clearly: someone can be picked up on the Friday before a bank holiday weekend and potentially wait until the Tuesday morning before being brought before a judge. That is a fair point. If people are arrested, they should be brought before a judge quickly, so I look forward to the noble Lord’s response.
My Lords, I also support this amendment. Would you believe it, there is a judge on duty all weekend, every weekend, and all night? If the period is reduced to 24 hours and this happens over a weekend, it can be treated as urgent business.
My Lords, I thank noble Lords for their words of welcome. There will, indeed, be plenty to keep us busy on the home affairs front. Amendment 3 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, concerns the period of detention. It seeks to delete the provision that, in calculating the 24-hour period within which an arrested person must be brought before the appropriate judge, no account should be taken of weekends, bank holidays and the like, as she explained.
It might be helpful if I first reassure noble Lords that this provision does not arise from any desire of law enforcement agencies to detain individuals for prolonged periods without judicial oversight. The Government have been very careful to ensure that sufficient safeguards exist against this. Our operational partners have already proved themselves effective at producing wanted persons before courts within strict timeframes. The practical question at the heart of this issue is one of being certain that, when a person is produced at court, an appropriate judge is available to hear their case. The key aspect perhaps is that, rightly, the requirement under the Act is for the person to be brought before the judge, not simply for a judge to consider the case on paper. I hope that addresses the point raised by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge. If the Bill were to be amended along the lines suggested, it would render the power largely unworkable; in some instances, because of perfectly normal court closure times, if a judge were not available for the wanted person to appear before them—
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord. It is questionable whether the word “brought” requires the physical presence of the judge and the particular person so that they should be facing each other directly. Nowadays we have all sorts of technology that enables people to encounter each other while not in one another’s physical presence.
To be clear to the noble and learned Lord, it is the statutory intention that the person should be brought before a judge in person. It is an additional safeguard and a better situation for them to be seen in person before a judge. If the Bill were amended along the lines suggested, it would make the power operationally unworkable because, in some instances, normal court closure times would preclude that. As we have discussed, it could mean, practically, that arrests could not be made on a Saturday or on the Sunday before a bank holiday.
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord again. This is his first outing and we are throwing bouncers at him. If that is the problem, we need to amend the legislation to make it clear that “brought before” does not mean that there is a personal, direct, physical confrontation. I would be very willing to talk to him about this at any time but, so far, I am not entirely satisfied with what he has had to say.
I thank noble Lords for their forbearance on this, my first outing. It is our intention to replicate the existing provisions under the Extradition Act. It may be helpful for me to speak to the noble and learned Lord and others in greater detail about the statutory intention of what the Government propose. We seek to mirror the provisions already there, which are caught up in the usual formulation of “as soon as practicable” that already exists in the Extradition Act. There are precedents for these arrangements for provisional arrest under Part 1, under which a person may be provisionally arrested without warrant and brought before the appropriate judge within 48 hours of their arrest, subject to exactly the same conditions as set out in the schedule under discussion here.
My noble friend Lady Williams of Trafford has already cited the letter sent by the Director of Public Prosecutions to the Security Minister earlier this week, which welcomes the way the Bill, as drafted, will avoid unnecessary delay and ensure initial judicial scrutiny as early as possible, before the case proceeds through extradition proceedings in the usual way. It is for that reason that the Government are not persuaded that the amendment is needed. I hope that gives some reassurance to the noble and learned Lord, the noble Baroness and others.
My Lords, I did not expect it to go in this direction, but I thank the noble Lord for his explanation. I am left a bit thrown and not entirely satisfied. I decided that I would not bring my iPad into Committee to scroll up and down through the 2003 Act; I reckoned it could wait until later, but clearly I should do so.
If this provision is to mirror the 2003 Act, which talks about bringing someone before a court as soon as practicable and in any event within 48 hours, that still does not meet the provisions of new Section 74A(4) because, as I said, if someone is picked up on a Friday afternoon, 48 hours lands them on a Sunday. There is an important point of principle in this: the way it operates—the noble Lord used the term “workability”—in terms of the position of the Executive and the work it has to do with the police and the rights of the individual who is the subject of this. That is why the judiciary is involved: to ensure that that person’s rights are properly protected. It looks as if the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, wants to intervene.
I shall wait until the noble Baroness has finished.
I think I pretty much have finished.
I think the position is that, as times have changed and we are more modern than we once were, a judge is now available at all times to deal with this matter. Therefore, it is not necessary to leave out weekends or bank holidays because the reason that was put in was that the judge might not be there. Now, under the rules of the system, the person can have his case before the judge in the holidays because a judge is always there. Therefore, it needs to be changed to take account of that. That is my understanding. I hope the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, agrees with me.
My Lords, we have just heard from two very experienced former members of the judiciary. The noble Lord, Lord Parkinson, would be very wise to agree to take this matter away and try to sort it out.
As my noble friend Lord Paddick says, this is what Committee is about. He has reminded me that some courts are open on a Saturday to deal with custody cases, which adds another dimension to this. I look forward to discussing this to get the right balance, which is what we always seek. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Parkinson. I am sorry that, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, said, we have been bowling him googlies on his first outing. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 3 withdrawn.
4: The Schedule, page 3, line 9, at end insert “and
(e) it is satisfied that the request is not politically motivated.”Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to probe the propriety of requests, and whether paragraph (d) provides adequate protection.
My Lords, I beg leave to move Amendment 4 and will speak to my Amendments 11, 11A and 11C.
Amendment 4 would insert into the criteria for a certificate under new Section 74B that the designated authority is
“satisfied that the request is not politically motivated.”
This takes us back to our first debate and is intended to probe how the propriety of requests is dealt with. We already have new Section 74B(1)(d), which says that the authority
“is satisfied that the seriousness of the conduct constituting the offence makes it appropriate to issue the certificate.”
I am not sure quite what that paragraph means. What is “appropriate”? It may go only to the offence for which the possible sentence meets the threshold. What is the seriousness of conduct constituting the offence? How does one assess the conduct as distinct from the offence as it is legally defined in the country in question? I am quite prepared for the Minister to tell me that this is in the 2003 Act and that there is case law on it. I will wait and see.
Amendment 11 would amend new Section 74C, which concerns the validity of requests, including from the requesting authority. The designated authority —in our case, the NCA—must believe that the authority in the other state has the function of making these requests. As my explanatory statement says:
“The amendment is to probe whether the designated authority should rely on a request if there is any doubt as to whether the requesting authority has this function,”.
The word “believes” made me hesitate over this provision.
Amendment 11A would provide that, where someone has been discharged, the person should not be arrested again in reliance on the same certificate. There should be a further certificate. I am not sure that we have the amendment in quite the right place. However, it seemed worth raising the issues of concern to the organisation Justice, which has been following—and, in some cases, leading us on—the proceedings on the Bill. It is concerned about it being quite wrong for there to be a new power in respect of the same extradition request should the designated authority issue a fresh certificate. Justice understands that the Government do not intend for fresh certificates to be issued where the first has been produced incorrectly and that this would be a matter for judicial scrutiny. I am again grateful to the Minister for having a word with me about this. I hope she will put on record what I know to be the Government’s position on this.
Amendment 11C would provide for
“the affirmative procedure for regulations to designate the ‘designated authority’.”
We have been told that the designated authority will be the National Crime Agency, although it is not specified in the Bill. Given that reorganisations in the police service are not that unusual, I understand why one might need the opportunity to change the reference. There is clearly concern about ensuring that a future designated authority has the requisite expertise, as there is in the service at the moment. It would therefore be appropriate to use that procedure. I beg to move.
Amendment 5 in this group is in my name. It would simply put “National Crime Agency” into the Bill. Throughout the Bill, there are references to the “designated authority”, but there is no mention of a specific agency. I am sure that the Minister will set out why the Bill is framed in that way and I look forward to that explanation.
Other amendments in this group are in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. They are all useful, as they give the Minister the opportunity to explain further the Government’s reasoning in specific areas and to convince the Grand Committee of the protections in the Bill.
On Amendment 4, who will be responsible and accountable if the safeguards fail and we end up complying with a request that is politically motivated? Amendment 11 would take away the uncertainty built into the Bill. I do not like phrases such as “the designated authority believes”. “Believes” is a strange word to have in legislation. I like there to be a bit more certainty than is offered by a word such as “believes”. It seems very loose and open to all sorts of interpretations by all sorts of people.
Amendment 11A raises the circumstance where somebody could be rearrested under a new certificate. I accept that circumstances can change and maybe those powers are needed, but if somebody has been released under one certificate, we need to make clear what would need to change for them to be rearrested under a new one.
Amendment 11C has my full support. In many ways, it is a compromise between what the Bill says and what Amendment 5 says. Doing it through an SI is probably the best way forward, so I fully support Amendment 11C. I look forward to the Minister’s response.
I thank the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, for their points on these amendments. They have been grouped together as dealing with the functions of the designated authority and the criteria applied by it in certifying requests.
Amendment 4 proposes a new criterion for certification. This would require the designated authority to be satisfied that the request is not politically motivated. Making consideration of political motivation a precondition of certification for the designated authority would reverse the present position for arrests under the Extradition Act 2003. Presently, the courts are required to consider during the substantive extradition hearing whether any of the statutory bars to extradition apply. These statutory bars include whether the request for extradition is made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing an individual on account of their political opinions—that comes under Section 81 of the Extradition Act 2003. The Government’s position remains that it is right that the judge considers these points based on all the evidence before him or her during the substantive hearing and not the NCA prior to arrest. It is the judge who is ultimately accountable.
Furthermore, we are all aware that the Extradition Act contains substantial safeguards in respect of requests motivated by reason of the requested person’s political views. These safeguards will continue to apply, and we fully expect the courts to continue to exercise their powers of scrutiny as usual.
Arguments of political motivation are of course not usually simple. It is right that the question of whether an individual extradition request can be described as politically motivated should be assessed by a judge before an open court. It is vital, of course, that the requested person should be able to put their arguments on this basis to a judge, but it is also crucial, in the fulfilment of our obligations under the international arrangements on extradition that give rise to such proceedings, that the requesting authority should be able to respond to such arguments and put their own case as to why the request is not politically motivated. This should be openly and fairly arbitrated, so importing this consideration into the process for determining whether an individual may be arrested would be at odds with existing extradition law. Noble Lords will be aware that judges and justices of the peace are not required to consider such factors when deciding whether to issue an arrest warrant under Section 71 or Section 73 of the 2003 Act.
Were the designated authority to make such a deliberation in effectively, it would need to be able to invite representations on the point from both the requesting authority and the requested person in each case before certification. Not only would this be hugely resource-intensive, it would also advertise to the wanted person that they are wanted. I should note that the designated authority, as a public body, would already be under an obligation to act compatibly with convention rights under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998. At the point of certification, this will include consideration of whether an arrest is ECHR-compatible.
I bring the attention of noble Lords to the types of territories proposed as appropriate specified territories. These are democracies whose criminal justice systems are rooted in the rule of law. I am certain Parliament would not accept the addition to the schedule of territories that we believed would send the UK politically motivated arrest requests. I hope I have been able to persuade the noble Baroness that there is no gap in safeguards here and that, consequently, she will be content with withdraw her amendment.
She also asked what is meant by the “seriousness of the conduct”. The language mirrors the test in Part 1 of the Extradition Act 2003. As she thought, there is indeed case law on the point. The intention is to capture only conduct sufficiently serious to ensure that the power is used only where proportionate. For example, the minor theft of an item of food from a supermarket or a very small amount of money is unlikely, without exceptional circumstances, to be sufficiently serious. Only when the designated authority decides that the offence satisfies the test will it be able to certify the request.
I turn now to Amendment 5, which seeks to define the designated authority as the National Crime Agency in the Bill. Our approach here mirrors that of the designation of the authority responsible for certification of European arrest warrants under Part 1 of the Act. The Government consider that the designation of the authority responsible for issuing a certificate is an appropriate matter to be left to secondary legislation. A regulation-making power affords the appropriate degree of flexibility to amend the designated authority in light of changing circumstances, including alterations to the functions of law enforcement bodies in the UK. To future-proof the legislation, the Government believe that the current drafting leaves an appropriate amount of flexibility. As I said, the Government’s intention is initially to designate the NCA, which is the UK’s national central bureau for Interpol, as the designated authority. I hope I have persuaded the noble Lord that we have got the balance right and that he will be content not to press his amendment.
I turn finally to Amendment 11, on requests made in the “approved way”. My noble friend’s amendment suggests that a request should be considered to have been made in the approved way only if it is made by an authority that has the function of making such requests in the territory concerned, rather than an authority which the designated authority believes to have this function.
Perhaps I may momentarily be a bit philosophical. The amendment attempts to base the assessment of the authority’s function on an objective truth. That is admirable from the point of view of legal certainty, but the designated authority does not have a monopoly on truth. The best it could do in practice, when making the assessment described in the amendment, would be to decide, to the best of its ability, whether the authority in question has the function of making such requests, arriving at what I think we would characterise as being a belief that it does so. Of course, the designated authority, as a public body, must take decisions that are reasonable and rational.
As such, we expect there to be no difference between how the assessment would be made in practice under the amendment and how it would be made under the existing text. The benefit of the text, as we have proposed it, is that it mirrors language elsewhere in the Extradition Act—for example, when the designated authority under Part 1 may issue a certificate in relation to a warrant and when the Secretary of State may issue a certificate under Part 2.
On the perceived risk implicit in Amendment 11A—that an arrested person could be rearrested for the same thing, having been discharged by a court, perhaps because they were not produced at court on time or for some other failing—I reassure the Committee that this is neither the intention nor the effect of the new sections in the Bill. New Section 74A(8) makes clear that an arrested person may
“not be arrested again in reliance of the same certificate”
if they have previously been discharged. The intention of this drafting is to stipulate that an individual may not be arrested again on the basis of the same international arrest request once a judge has discharged them. This mirrors Section 6 of the Extradition Act 2003, which provides for the same thing, where a person provisionally arrested on the basis of a belief relating to a European arrest warrant may not be arrested again on the basis of a belief relating to the same European arrest warrant.
On top of that, new Section 74B(3) requires that a certificate has to have been withdrawn before any arrest takes place to allow a new one to be issued relating to the same request. This again illustrates that a further certificate cannot simply be issued on the basis of the same request once an individual arrested under this power has been discharged by a judge.
Of course, it is vital that a certificate can be issued on the basis of a new request, or on the basis of a wholly different request, so that an individual wanted for another crime is not immune to any further arrest because they were once arrested and discharged for a different crime. Organised transnational offences, such as people trafficking, often involve offences in different countries, on different dates, with different victims, and no individual should be able to avoid answering for more than one serious crime using a legal loophole. The amendment would create that impunity. For that reason, I hope I have been able to persuade the noble Baroness and that she will be happy not to press that amendment.
Amendment 11C would require an affirmative resolution procedure to apply to any statutory instrument that designates an authority as a “designated authority”. Given that the framework and criteria for the issuing of a certificate are provided for in the Bill, we consider that the negative resolution procedure affords an appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny. We have plainly set out what the designated authority will do and how they must do it. Which particular body exercises that function is not, in our view, a matter that needs to be subject to debate in both Houses. The use of the power to designate an authority is necessary to accommodate any changing circumstances, including alterations to the functions of law enforcement bodies in the UK, and we consider it appropriate that we can respond to this promptly. The application of the negative procedure is also, again, completely consistent with the procedure for designating an authority for the purposes of issuing a certificate in respect of a European arrest warrant under Part 1 of the Extradition Act 2003.
I am sorry for my long-winded response to these several amendments. I hope the noble Baroness and the noble Lord are happy not to press their amendments.
I do not think the Minister was long-winded; it is quite a long group of amendments. I am grateful to her for that. I should have brought my iPad so that I could have followed all the references to the 2003 Act. I take all the points that the Minister made—in particular, the point about organised crime. One does not always remember how the nature of crime changes. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 4 withdrawn.
Amendment 5 not moved.
6: The Schedule, page 3, line 34, leave out “, vary”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment is to probe the variation of a reference to a territory, as distinct from an addition or removal.
My Lords, I beg to move Amendment 6; I also have Amendments 7, 9 and 10 in this group. I start with Amendment 9, which I think is the most important. This amendment would restrict additions to Schedule A1 to one territory at a time. Orders are not amendable; one says either yes or no—and it is rarely no—to the whole thing. Let us consider an order seeking to add, say, Turkey and the Netherlands—it might not happen but I am thinking of two very different states—where one might want more protections than are proposed by the Government, but one would not want to reject an order to add the Netherlands. I think that is a sufficiently stark pairing to enable your Lordships to understand why I am concerned about this. I have written myself a note about the delegated powers memorandum. I cannot now find it but I am sure that it said something quite relevant. I might be able to find it by the end of the debate. Anyway, that is my particular concern. I do not think that I need to expand on it any further. I am grateful to the noble Lord and the noble and learned Lord for adding their names to this.
Amendment 6 is to probe how a territory can be varied, as distinct to being added or removed. It did not seem to me that one could vary a territory to make it part of a state. If it is about a change of name—some states do change their names—surely legislation here is not necessary. Amendment 7 is to take out the provision in new Section 74B of the Act that regulations can amend new Section 74C consequential on the addition, variation or removal of reference to a territory. New Section 74C is about the validity of requests for an arrest, which have to be made in an approved way; so, again, I am probing. What could be amended other than that the request comes from an authority with the requisite function? I table this because I am uncomfortable that there might be regulations in contemplation that widen the category of authorities entitled to make the request.
Amendment 10 would deal with the basis on which the Secretary of State may add a territory. The Minister at Second Reading said that we would apply the provisions only to
“alerts from countries that do not abuse Interpol systems, that respect the international rules-based system and that have criminal justice systems we trust; and only to alerts relating to sufficiently serious offences.”—[Official Report, 4/2/20; Col. 1727.]
I do not quarrel with a word of that. This amendment seeks to transfer those words into the legislation. I beg to move Amendment 6.
My Lords, I very much support this Bill. My Amendment 11B relates to the names of territories that were not in the original legislation but are in this Bill. My noble friend perfectly reasonably suggested that I might be objecting to our extradition system in general and that that would not be suitable. I agree with her. However, this Bill has a list of “trusted partner” countries. That is true of all but one of them. All the others have a system of justice that is removed as far as humanly possible from politics. In this country, we are proud of that. That would not matter if one could not show—as I hope to—that the United States, because of its different kind of legal system, is using the extradition arrangements in a way that my noble friend rightly objects to, and why quite a number of other countries are not this list. The problem is that, by putting the United States on this list, we are making a statement about its use of extradition which seems unjustified. I will explain why.
We know that, unlike with the other countries, there is no reciprocal arrangement because the United States has said that it is contrary to its constitutional arrangements to have reciprocity. Our original Act is not reciprocated by the United States. I find that difficult anyway, but we are not discussing that issue here. In the case of the United States, unlike many other countries with which we have had and probably will have reciprocity after negotiation, we accept that it will not extradite people to us in circumstances in which we are extraditing people to it. We are confirming that by saying that we will extend our extradition procedure—perfectly properly in other circumstances, I think—to enable us to arrest people in the circumstances that this Bill makes clear.
We are very fortunate in this country because the whole system is overseen by the judiciary. It would be arguable that it does not matter because the new arrangements will mean that the judiciary will still be able to oversee that. After all, we are not putting every country on the list. We are not saying that the judiciary oversees everybody; we are saying it about these countries and distinguishing them from others.
I will remind your Lordships about two cases that show why I think that this is very real. We have the case of a woman who killed a British boy in Britain, has admitted it and has not been extradited although we have asked for that extradition. Not only has she not been extradited but the United States has refused to reveal what it claims are the special and secret arrangements under which the extradition cannot take place because the person is supposedly covered by diplomatic immunity. However, the United States will not publicly explain the special arrangement. Not only is the lady not extradited, although we have asked for it, but it is on a basis that the United States has refused to reveal. Were this Turkey, Bangladesh or another country, this would be a very good reason for not putting the name on this list.
There is a second reason: the use of the extradition arrangements to pursue a political or commercial end. For the United States it is very often a commercial end. In this I speak of the case of my former constituent Dr Mike Lynch, chairman of one of our most successful companies. He sold his British company to an American company; it was sold under British law in Britain, bought by an American company and operated in Britain. After a bit, the American company had so badly mucked up the running of this business that it wanted an excuse for the sum it had paid, so it called on the British authorities to prosecute Dr Lynch, saying he had misled it. That may or may not be true. It had done very extensive due diligence before, so it is difficult to believe that so great an American company with so much opportunity to look beforehand should have been misled, but that is what it said.
The British authorities investigated and found that there was no case to answer. Therefore, they declined the prosecution. The American company, Hewlett Packard, perfectly rightly—I have no objection to this—went to the civil courts to claim its case. That case has now been heard at great length. It is probably the longest case of this kind ever held in this country. Dr Lynch was cross-examined for many days. The case is over as far as the evidence is concerned, but there has so far not been a judgment, so we do not know whether the civil courts in this country will find my former constituent guilty or innocent. Hewlett Packard is clearly worried about this case. Indeed, to read it one might be worried oneself if one were on that side. But still, we do not know. It is for the judge to decide.
British justice is known internationally as the fairest system in the world. That is why lots of companies that are not here agree with other companies that are not here for their court cases, should they come up, to be decided in British courts; they know that they will get a fair deal. Hewlett Packard has however demanded that Dr Lynch be extradited from Britain to have the case heard not in this country but in the United States. I am quite sure the reason is that it feels a United States court is more likely to make a decision which pleases it—particularly given the geographical position of the court calling for the extradition and its long-standing relationship with Hewlett Packard—and more likely to accept its case than the British one.
We all know that there are many situations in which British companies have found that courts in the United States make decisions that we would find, let us say, commercially political rather than judicially objective. Here we are, saying that this “trusted partner” should be treated in the same way as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, all of which have systems that any of us in this Room would be happy to be tried before, but how many of us would genuinely say that, if we had a commercial disagreement with an American company with power and political punch, we would wish to be charged before an American court? That is a different situation.
I have tabled the amendment not because I seek to undermine the original Act, although I think it was a mistake to allow a non-reciprocal arrangement with the United States. I am merely saying that I do not think that the United States should be one of those countries that benefits from a perfectly proper extension of our laws.
My noble friend said that she would not want to have this kind of arrangement with anyone whose judicial system was subject to political influence. President Trump has pointed out that he has changed the judges in the Ninth Circuit because it was
“a big thorn in our side”.
He has now appointed judges who will not be a big thorn in his side. He has made, I think, 181 judicial appointments and encouraged the majority Republican Senate to change as many as possible while he is there so that they get the judges who will to make the sort of judgments that suit the right-wing Republican that he is.
I say to my noble friend that it is no good saying that America is so like us, that they speak English and all the rest of it. The truth is that, in this area, America is different. It is using the extradition system to promote its commercial interests. The case I referred to was of a British company—of a Brit who has created very many jobs in this country, is a serial entrepreneur and who the Government have used and lent upon because of his extreme expertise. Yet we are allowing ourselves to be used by the Americans to try to ensure their commercial interests are advanced.
I am perfectly happy to stand by whatever a British court decides, but I have certainly seen too many examples of American courts making decisions that would never be made in this country. Therefore, I ask the Government to remove the United States from the named countries, instead seek with it an understanding that has the reciprocity necessary and then add it to the list. Unless we have that reciprocity and can be assured that it is not being used for commercial or political reasons, I do not believe it ought to be given the status that is being given in these circumstances.
My Lords, I support Amendment 9. As I indicated at Second Reading, I support the Bill. There is a great deal to be said for the proposition that there should be reciprocity between countries that respect the rule of law on the administration of criminal justice. However, I strongly support this amendment; I see absolutely no inconsistency between the two propositions.
The reasons why are very simple. We all know that there are countries in the world that do not respect the rule of law. I will not set about trying to give your Lordships a list because the list itself changes. Countries that respected the rule of law no longer do. Weimar Germany did; Hitler’s Germany did not. This is a moveable feast.
My concern is that we are giving the Secretary of State wide powers to add different nations to the list by regulations. At Second Reading I went through the possible reasons, and they are still there: political motivation, getting a good deal on a treaty, the fact that we need a bit of support on this or that, so we put a country on the list. There is a whole series of reasons why, in years to come, since this Act will be in force for many years, Ministers—not, I hasten to assert, either of these Ministers—will think it appropriate to add to the list countries that this House and the other place together think are inappropriate to be added.
We are doing this by way of regulation, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, pointed out. The consequence is that the Prime Minister of the day or his acolyte—and we are talking about a Prime Minister who would not perhaps respect the rule of law himself, but who knows what could happen—would insist on having a country that we in both Houses would regard as totally inappropriate to be a brother or sister nation on such a list and with whom we would think it quite inappropriate to have any sort of arrangement of this kind simply because it does not respect the rule of law. I have been through that.
What are our processes? They are that such a country could be included in a list of perfectly acceptable countries—the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said the Netherlands and Turkey—but can we just cut down a little further into that? It means that when the House considers the regulation, it will have to decide whether to exclude Turkey—to use the country that the noble Baroness used—because it is really rather important and because we greatly respect the Netherlands, or whether to reject Turkey and the Netherlands. Or, to go the other way, we must have the Netherlands, so we must therefore have Turkey. If one or other of these courses is taken—whichever way round it is—if there is any amendment, the whole thing falls to the ground. We will not want the Netherlands to fall to the ground, nor Denmark, France or Germany. There are many countries that we would want to espouse as colleagues in respect for the rule of law.
What is proposed in this amendment is utterly simple. What is the difficulty in doing it one country by another? It might take a little longer; there might a little more typing, a little more printing—we could even have all the countries, except the ones objected to, come through as a job lot. I gave a little cricketing analogy earlier and I am sorry that I bowled bouncers not googlies at the Minister. One of the most famous things ever said at a cricket match was when, in 1902, Hirst came out to bat against the Australians with 15 runs to get on a difficult wicket in the dark; the story goes that Rhodes met Hirst and exchanged the words, “We’ll get them in singles”. Let us get this done in singles.
My Lords, I cannot match the noble and learned Lord’s eloquence, except I remember that Lord Bingham used to use that phrase to describe how judges should nudge the law forward gently, step by step, rather than sit hitting sixes and fours.
I support this amendment for the reasons that have been explained. There are two features of the issue that are worth bearing in mind. First, the standard that the Government have set, which was described by the Minister, is a relatively high standard and, therefore, we are not talking about large numbers. Indeed, the Schedule itself demonstrates that we are not expected to have a great list, they will come in twos or threes at the worst, preferably ones, as the amendment seeks. Secondly, the issue of a standard is something that we would wish to debate, as the noble Lord, Lord Deben, demonstrated in his contribution. It is a great shame if we are masked, as it were, by having one good country on the list that we would not object to but which is in the kind of pairing that the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, mentioned, so that we cannot really grapple with the one to which we are objecting because the instrument is not amendable.
With great respect, this seems a very sensible amendment that meets the problem of the non-amendable instrument without at the same time creating an insuperable difficulty for the Government. It enables a debate to take place that would have a real point to it instead of one that really does not have a point because one part of the list—if it is a list—is unobjectionable. I very much support the amendment.
My Lords, I add my general support to the proposition and arguments that have been made. When I had the good fortune to chair the ad hoc committee looking at the workings of this legislation three or four years ago, this was one issue that the committee spent a long time discussing. Our concern throughout was essentially—and, I believe, entirely properly—about injustice. We must have an extradition system that is just at its heart. If there is any risk or probability of people being extradited into circumstances in which their human rights will be abused or ignored, or in which injustice will be meted out to them, we should not be party to it.
I was particularly grateful for the remarks by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge. He has touched on a point that I will come to when I move my amendment later on in the proceedings. I will not say that he has stolen my thunder—he has made the point a lot better than I might have.
My Lords, Amendment 6 is a very good probing amendment from the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. As I raised on the previous group, the words of the Bill need clarifying. This amendment gives the Minister the opportunity to do that and to explain why the word “vary” is in new Section 74B(7)(a). We have to be very careful with the words that we use in legislation. I can see why we would want to add or remove a territory, but why vary it? Is it to address a name change? I am sure that the Minister will tell us why. Amendment 7 allows the Minister to explain the need for this power. It may be perfectly sensible, but to make that clear would be most welcome.
My Amendment 8 is fairly simple. It seeks to improve the Bill—as do all my amendments—by requiring the Government to report changes before adding, removing or varying a reference to a territory. What is the process for adding a country? How will additions to the list be approved? What would the parliamentary scrutiny be? What is the process for the talks?
I also have my name to Amendment 9, which has been referred to in a number of contributions. The Government would have to add territories one at a time; I very much agree with that. Parliament could reject a specific country or territory, which seems very sensible and proportionate. However, this came out in Second Reading: is this Bill also a back door to some sort of protection from the loss of the European arrest warrant? I know the Government said that it was not, but this would allow them to add the European Union straight away and in one go. That would be an interesting thing for the Government to do. When I thought of that, I was reminded of the interesting PNQ that the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, recently asked about the European arrest warrant. I also recalled the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Robathan. He asked a question of the Minister:
“My Lords, is it not the case that not all European arrest warrants are the same? A European arrest warrant from France or Germany, with whom we share the same respect for the rule of law, is one thing, but a European arrest warrant from one or two other countries—here I particularly mention Romania—is not the same because often political interference has taken place in the judicial system.”
The Minister replied:
“My noble friend makes a very good point about political interference. In fact, that is one of the safeguards within what we are seeking. He is right to make the point that not all EU states are the same.”—[Official Report, 2/3/20; col. 398.]
If the Government decide to put in the European Union in the future, that point could not be addressed. It is a valid issue—or, of course, it may not be an issue at all. It would be useful to have a response on that.
Amendment 10 should cause the Government no problem at all; I look forward to the Minister’s response on that. The noble Lord, Lord Deben, makes a valid case in Amendment 11B. “Levelling up” is the new buzzword in the Government. I think that we need a bit of levelling up in our special relationship with our friends across the pond as far as it applies to extraditing suspects who are wanted for crimes committed in this country. They must be very serious crimes which need to be investigated. Questions need to be asked, and potentially the evidence test is made and the matter is put before a court in the UK. The noble Lord cited two cases to illustrate that, which is very important in this respect. We are seeking a bit of reciprocity here, so I strongly support what he said and I hope that the noble Baroness can give a full response to these points because he has made the case very well.
I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate. The amendments before us relate to the delegated power to specify any additional territories to which this new power may be extended. As I have said, in the first instance, the powers afforded by the legislation would be granted only to the UK’s closest criminal justice co-operation partners, these being the Five Eyes powers and the EFTA states. These are the countries in whose criminal justice systems and use of Interpol systems we have a high level of confidence. The amendments address the power to add, vary or remove countries from the Bill and a minor consequential amendment to vary what is meant by making an extradition request in the approved way if there is a good justification for doing so in the future.
I shall start with Amendment 9 because the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, began with it and other noble Lords have expressed a great interest in it. It specifies that territories should be added one at a time. I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, for speaking to me about this and I did slightly warn him ahead of time that we are not going to agree with it. That is not to say that we would want to add territories in multiples, but it is common practice to allow for multiple territories to be specified together for similar legislation. Noble Lords will know that this is the process for adding territories in Part 1 and Part 2 of the Extradition Act 2003. I hope that the affirmative resolution procedure would give Parliament the opportunity to scrutinise the Government by voting either for or against a resolution and to express an opinion towards any country being added to the Bill. I expect that if the Government attempted to add a territory which Parliament did not agree with, it would act accordingly. However, I understand the substance of the point that the noble and learned Lord made.
The noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, referred to our debate the other day on the Norway/Iceland issue. The Norway/Iceland surrender agreement operates under Part 1 of the 2003 Extradition Act, so an agreement with the EU based on that precedent would keep EU member states in Part 1 of the Act, where the power of immediate arrest already exists. The Bill is only for specified Part 2 countries where currently there is no power of immediate arrest. I do not want to prejudge the outcome of the negotiations, but we may well return to this issue.
I shall reverse engineer, as it were, and go back to Amendment 6. It looks to determine how varying a reference to a territory will be distinct from the addition or removal of a reference. I assure noble Lords that the term “vary” aims to future-proof the legislation and to ensure that technical changes do not place a restriction on the use of the power. An example of such a technical change would be a situation where part of a territory seceded from a specified territory and the Government wished to maintain this power in relation to only the successor state. This is of course not a particularly likely scenario but one for which it is responsible to be prepared.
Amendment 7 proposes to remove the power to vary the meaning of making a request “in the approved way” under new Section 74C. In the current draft, a request is made “in the approved way” if it is
“made by an authority of the category 2 territory which the designated authority believes has the function of making such requests in that territory.”
The power in new Section 74B(7)(b) is included to enable similar provision to be made, where appropriate, to that in Section 70(5) and (6) of the 2003 Act. These subsections set out the variations to the meaning of “the approved way” for extradition requests made from British Overseas Territories and for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. I will set out some examples of how that power might be used.
Where a newly specified territory had a number of different authorities which had the function of making requests, the power in new Section 74B(7)(b) would enable one or more authority to be singled out as the appropriate authority for making valid requests, should that be necessary. A further example might be if the Government sought to specify one or several of the British Overseas Territories. In such a scenario, the Government may wish to provide for requests to be made by the governor-general of the territory rather than the authorities within it. In such circumstances, the regulations might provide for requests to be made in the approved way by or on behalf of a person administering the territory.
Regarding preparing and publishing a report on adding a new territory, as well as any intention to add further territories or negotiations with prospective territories, to the scope of this legislation as specified in Amendment 8, the Government are committed to ensuring that Parliament has the ability to question and decide on whether any new territory could come within scope. Therefore, it is mandated in the Bill that any Government wishing to add a new territory to the scope of this legislation should do so through the affirmative resolution procedure. Any statutory instrument laid before Parliament will of course be accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum, which will set out the legislative context and policy reasons for that instrument.
This procedure will give Parliament opportunity for scrutiny and will allow the House to reject the addition of any new territory to the Bill. Any Minister looking to add a new territory to the Bill would be expected to give Parliament good reason for doing so, therefore negating the need for this amendment. Having said that, I have sympathy with the spirit of the amendment and have asked officials to look into how we can give the noble Lord some reassurance on this. I will continue to liaise with noble Lords ahead of Report.
Amendment 10 would add a specification criterion for new countries to the Bill. This has not already been included to ensure that Parliament is given the full freedom to decide on any new territory. If criteria were to be added, Parliament might be put in the invidious position of having to accept that a particular territory that was not appropriate for specification for other reasons should be added. In this circumstance Parliament would likely want to consider all aspects of the proposal, so adding these criteria would limit Parliament’s discretion. As I have outlined, any Government proposing to add a new territory would also need to give clear reasons for doing so, both in the explanatory documents accompanying any statutory instrument and during any subsequent debate. We would not want to bind the hands of future Governments to decide on the criteria they use to specify a new country.
I think we can all agree that the factors identified by my noble friend will of course be important and relevant considerations that we would expect any Government to take into account when deciding whether it is appropriate to seek to add a new territory. However, we do not consider that they need to be in the Bill. The current drafting ensures that Parliament can assess the merits of each territory which is due to be added to the Bill and scrutinise any addition through the affirmative resolution procedure. I am not persuaded of the need for this amendment.
Amendment 11B aims to remove the United States from the Schedule. The US is a critical partner in fighting terrorism and international organised crime. It is a responsible user of Interpol and has a criminal justice system with extensive checks and balances. We are confident of these points in relation to the US as much as to the other countries that we seek to specify. The new power of arrest, which is designed to protect the public in this country, has nothing to do with whether UK extradition requests to other countries are successful. It is about ensuring, when we have robust and trustworthy information that a person is wanted for a serious offence, that the police can arrest that person. Requests from the US are backed by judicial warrants predicated on probable cause. This is a firm ground on which to bring a person before a judge in the UK to decide on their further detention.
My noble friend talked about the US President’s comments on judicial appointments. Of course, this was raised by the leader of the Opposition in another place. We need to bear in mind the context in which the President might have said that in an election year. The Prime Minister made his views on the US treaty very clear in another place last month. The Government’s long-standing position is that the treaty with the US is fair and balanced in practice.
Will my noble friend give way?
Not at the moment. If my noble friend could wait until I have finished my comments, I will be happy to take his intervention. It is just that I have a number of points to make; I hope that is okay. The Prime Minister has committed to looking into the questions raised by the leader of the Opposition, so I am sure that my noble friend will look forward to that. This issue should not delay or undermine our efforts to ensure that police in the UK have the right powers in place to get wanted fugitives off British streets.
My noble friend talked about Anne Sacoolas, which is a valid issue; the US refusal to extradite her is a clear denial of justice. The Government and UK law enforcement continue to explore all opportunities to secure justice for Harry Dunn’s family. I bring to my noble friend’s attention the fact that this is the first case that has ever been refused under the UK-US extradition treaty. By contrast, we have refused 19 cases. The Government’s long-standing position is that the treaty is fair and balanced in practice. My noble friend also mentioned Dr Lynch. As we have stated, consideration of the substance of an extradition request includes any statutory bars to extradition such as political motivation. These are properly a matter for a judge at the extradition hearing. I will not comment any further as this is before the courts.
My noble friend also talked about reciprocity. What we are doing in this Bill is creating powers for the UK police, not obligations on the countries concerned. I know that he is concerned about reciprocity, but the Bill will enable UK police officers to protect the public more effectively. It is about ensuring that UK police officers have the power to remove dangerous individuals from our streets before they can abscond or offend, not relying on some sort of reciprocity that may depend on the nature of the regime in the other country. I am happy to take his intervention now if he wishes.
I thank my noble friend the Minister. I realise what she is saying and acknowledge the care with which she is saying it; I thank her very much for that. I tried to intervene earlier specifically on the issue that President Trump had said what he said. The Minister said that we had to realise that that was an election situation. She then moved on to the Prime Minister. I put this to her: how happy would she be if our Prime Minister got up during an election and said, “I am very pleased that there are 181 judges that I have managed to get appointed, who will make decisions much closer to the Conservative Party’s views than the judges whom they replaced.”? I think that she would be deeply upset and would feel that that struck at the very heart of British justice. I am trying to make the point that the United States makes political decisions about judges, who are very often able to act in support of American business. In fact, this is one of the issues that President Trump has always raised—“America first”. My concern is that there is an actual case where that appears to be what happened. I do not think that it helps us to give the impression that the United States’ legal system is on a par with that of Switzerland, because it is not.
I also ask my noble friend to reply to the noble and learned Lord opposite, who made a very important point about this, which is that if we say this about one country that is so different in a group such as this, we also say it about that group. It would be better if we offered Parliament the chance to make a decision on each country. In this case, it would be better not to give the impression that we were doing this because we wanted a favour from the United States on trade. That is what it looks and sounds like. Having read what the Prime Minister said, that is what I think. It is about doing nicely with the United States. The point about other countries that the noble Lord opposite made is a dangerous one.
On the point about taking the countries one by one, and the group that a country is in, as I said, in any secondary legislation that comes before your Lordships’ House there has to be a statement about the rationale for that secondary legislation, which Parliament can reject if it wishes. However, as I said to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, I utterly understand where he comes from.
On the point about judicial appointments in the US, putting aside what President Trump said, I think that the US judiciary is very protective of its independence. Certainly, on the issue of arrest warrants, the US has a criminal justice system in which we can justifiably put this level of trust.
I have a note from the Box about favours from the US. This power is, of course, in our interests. It benefits UK police. On that note, I hope noble Lords will feel content not to press their amendments.
My Lords, I will say a word on Amendment 9. I obviously agree with what has been said by a number of noble Lords about it. The views of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, suggest that a Minister putting forward a list would have to be mightily careful that the list was of all good, or at least equally good, countries. If there was a doubtful one it would have to be separate. That lesson should be taken to heart. It is very unwise to have a great big list where we are not sure about two or three countries, because we would just lose the whole lot. I suspect that we may be faced in due course with a fair group about which we have some knowledge already. I do not think that that has anything to do with the Bill, but it might be a consequence of granting this power. I imagine that any Minister contemplating this who wished to be successful would be very careful to leave a country out of a list of very good countries and have it in a separate list if he thought that it would risk the others.
I have my own view on how judges are appointed in the United States and am rather anxious that nothing of the sort should appear here. On the other hand, judges in the United States, although they may be appointed for various reasons, have responsibility as judges. The point about this matter is that extradition to the United States or any other country will be decided by a judge, though ultimately subject to the discretion of the Home Secretary. The judiciary here will be in charge of that and obviously the degree to which the explanation given by the United States carries weight will be quite important.
My Lords, this is an interesting group. With regard to the United States and one of the Five Eyes seeing things a bit differently, if this matter comes back on Report, as it may, it would be helpful if the Minister could explain to the House how the human rights criteria that will be applied at the judicial stage would apply in any given situation without using specific cases. That is part of the whole picture.
On Amendment 6 and my suggestion that the word “vary” be deleted, we are told that this is to future-proof the arrangements in case one part of a territory secedes. I find it difficult to envisage all this and I do not see why the Government would not in that situation just delete the original but add the substituted territory. On Amendment 7, I confess I need to read properly what the Minister said. On the criteria listed in Amendment 10, the Minister said that Parliament would have to reject a territory if the criteria were not met. Actually, that is not the way round the amendment is written. Parliament would not be required to reject it but a reference to a territory could be added “only if”. I think those are different; these are on minima.
However, I see absolutely no down side to agreeing the amendment which at the start I said was the most important of this group with respect to the position of the United States. The justification proposing it is that it is not common practice. That does not mean that it is good practice in every situation. I am absolutely with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, who said that it is entirely consistent with support for the Bill. I will not follow his cricketing analogies because I will probably get them wrong again. As I said at Second Reading, we should not be in the business of bulk orders, if I may put it that way.
The Minister said that the affirmative resolution procedure gave Parliament the opportunity to scrutinise. Scrutiny means different things to different people, but it does not mean that you go straight from scrutiny to the remedy you are seeking. I do not think that it is an adequate response to an amendment which I really do not think would cause, as has been said, much more than a few more pieces of paper—a little more typing and standing up and sitting down. We will come back to this at the next stage. It ought to be such an easy one for the Government to concede to divert us from other amendments. For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw Amendment 6.
Amendment 6 withdrawn.
Amendments 7 to 11C not moved.
12: The Schedule, page 10, line 14, leave out sub-paragraph (2)
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment removes the provision in the bill that allows regulations to amend, repeal or revoke any provision made by primary legislation.
My Lords, I shall speak also to Amendments 13, while Amendment 14 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Inglewood, is also in this group. Amendment 12 would remove the provision allowing
“regulations to amend, repeal or revoke any provision made by primary legislation.”
This is something to which I have a natural aversion. I appreciate that the regulations in question, in paragraph 29(2) of the schedule, are limited by paragraph 29(1) which refers to regulations
“consequential on the amendments made by this Schedule.”
Is paragraph 29(2) necessary? It suggests that the drafters were anxious that they did not have time to prepare the Bill. I have looked at what the 2003 Act says on this point. Section 219 provides for amendments, repeals and revocations but can deal only with one
“contained in an Act passed in a Session after that in which this Act is passed.”
I do not think that alters my central point, which is my natural aversion to regulations amending primary legislation. Amendment 13 deals with the same point. I beg to move.
My Lords, I shall speak to Amendment 14 in this group. I owe the Committee an apology for not adding an explanatory statement, but essentially this is a probing amendment. The reason is that when I tabled it, I was not entirely sure exactly what my anxieties about the proposed legislation might be, but I have spoken to the Minister about my general unhappiness. Interestingly, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has just talked about paragraph 29(2). It strikes me as extremely clumsy and I am uneasy about it. As I say, that is why I have tabled this amendment and discussed it with the Minister.
Throughout the passage of the Bill thus far, the Government have emphasised that it is about powers of arrest. Of course, much of the Bill is about those powers, but it is clearly set within the context of the extradition system as a whole. One has not only to look at the Title of the Bill to see that; if you look at its substance, it becomes apparent. In the nicest possible way, I think “the Lady complaineth too much” in talking about the focus of the Bill on powers of arrest. The Bill is essentially about the workings of our extradition system as a whole. As the Committee knows—and does not need me to point out—it is essentially divided into two parts; I oversimplify, of course. There is the bit that relates to the European arrest warrant and the bit that relates to the rest.
We know that, at the time that I was chairing the House’s committee that looked at the workings of the 2003 Act, the question arose of whether the country should opt back in to the EAW. We on the committee believed that it was the right thing to do; we were clear but not unanimous about that. It was discussed on the Floor of the House and that view was endorsed by the House as a whole. Now, as everybody knows, there is a real possibility that we may leave the European arrest warrant. I was slightly surprised when looking at the Explanatory Notes to the Bill that there was not a great deal of reference to that. However, I then went further into the matter and got hold of a copy of the memorandum from the Home Office to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. Paragraph 29 says:
“The Department considers that the proposed regulation-making power provides the appropriate level of flexibility to amend the list of specified category 2 territories, and to amend the definition of making a request in the “approved way”, in response to changing circumstances. Leaving such matters to secondary legislation ensures that the Government can respond in timely fashion to potential future developments, and that such response provides certainty and clarity as to the appropriate manner of request from amended or newly specified territories. For example”—
this is the important bit—
“if the UK were not to have access to the European Arrest Warrant or a similar tool, with the effect that EU Member States become re-designated as category 2 territories, it is likely to be appropriate to specify some or all of them for the purposes of this legislation (thereby replicating the immediate power of arrest which applies to a certified European Arrest Warrant).”
The point here is that it is clearly envisaged that, in some way, Part 1 of the 2003 Act will be collapsed. This power, and the powers contained within it, which may appear somewhat ancillary to the whole question of arrest, are—if I might use a cricketing analogy to follow that used by the noble and learned Lord—rolling the pitch, even if, to mix my metaphors, they are not a Trojan horse for bringing that about.
Clearly, if we are to leave the European arrest warrant scheme, something needs to follow. But it is objectionable and inappropriate that the substantial part of the extradition code of this country is not to be modified as a result of primary legislation. Extradition law is an important component of our country’s wider constitutional framework. As was pointed out by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, and others, we will be faced with Hobson’s choice. This is not in any way desirable. That is the point about which I am concerned and the rationale that I worked out for my amendment.
My Lords, let us just look at what we are saying in paragraph 29(2): “Let’s pass this Bill, which is a very good idea, and let’s pass it in such a way that regulations may change the whole thing.” Is that really what we want to do?
My Lords, I feel very strongly that although we may have disagreed on the subject of the United States, that should not stop us recognising the wider argument to which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, has referred. Far too much legislation going through both Houses ends up leaving everything to be decided in secondary legislation where it is almost impossible to make changes, and this is another example.
I want to underline what my noble friend Lord Inglewood has said, which is that extradition is far too important a matter to leave basic, material decisions merely to secondary legislation. This is part of the freedom that people in this country rightly feel they have and I do not believe that we should allow the Government to have the powers that this seems to allow. I hope that my noble friend will recognise that this is a matter of real principle, a principle that the party to which we both belong is supposed to believe in above all things—constitutional propriety. This is not constitutional propriety, but sleight of hand.
I do not have many remarks to make on this and I could not think of a quixotic quote. However, I really like Shakespeare because he is connected with the borough I grew up in, so I will remind you of this quote
“haste is needful in this desperate case.”
Some of the points which have been made are very important and should be taken on board. What are we doing here? We support the legislation in principle, but we have asked for reasons why we are doing this and we have gone through some of the wording before.
I look forward in particular to the Minister’s response to Amendment 12 because when you look at the wording it seeks to take out, it is quite worrying that it is in there at all. It may well be that there is a perfectly understandable explanation and I will be able to get up in a moment and say, “I fully support what the Minister intends to do”, but as it reads now, I am worried about what we are passing here. Perhaps she will say that it is fine because it talks about further consequential provisions in the sub-paragraph above and the Government will do nothing. However, there is an issue about the powers we are giving to the Executive and our ability to scrutinise or change them at a later date. That point has been made by the noble Lord, Lord Inglewood, so I want this to be looked at.
Amendment 13 seeks to remove regulations about “saving” or “incidental” provision. What is that about? We could make all sorts of changes by saying that something is a saving. We could get rid of whole swathes of stuff, so what are we agreeing to? We do not want to find ourselves saying months or years ahead that we did not realise when we agreed to this that we were giving those powers to the Executive. I will leave it there and look forward to the Minister’s response, but I may intervene at some point for further clarification.
I thank noble Lords for the points they have made and I hope to be able to allay any fears around what Amendments 12, 13 and 14 seek to address.
As noble Lords have said, paragraph 29(1) confers a power on the Secretary of State to make further provisions that are consequential on the amendments made by the Schedule to the Bill. This is a standard power which is commonplace in legislation and is naturally constrained. It can be used only to make provisions that are consequential and it is not a power to make substantive policy changes. Rather, it will allow the Government to make small, technical amendments for good housekeeping to ensure that that statute book is consistent and functions well.
As we implement the new arrest power, it is in everyone’s interests to ensure legal continuity for law enforcement partners and those subject to arrest for extradition purposes. While many of the amendments required to other enactments are made by Part 2 of the Schedule to the Bill, it is anticipated that further consequential amendments may be identified as part of the implementation process. That is why the standard power is taken to provide the flexibility to ensure that the new arrest power can operate smoothly and efficiently. Placing a timeframe such as 12 months on the use of the power would unnecessarily frustrate the aim. In any event, as noble Lords will know, the power cannot be used to amend future legislation.
As to the scope of the possible amendments, the Bill is narrowly focused. Its purpose is to provide a power of provisional arrest for specified category 2 territories for extradition purposes. I stress the point that it does not affect or relate to the subsequent extradition process. The purpose of the consequential power is to deal with the consequences of those changes to the statute book. As such, just as wider amendments to the Extradition Act 2003 fall outside the Bill’s ambit, so amendments to effect wider extradition policy would fall outwith the consequential amendments power. The power extends to provisions that amend, repeal or revoke any provision of primary legislation. As I hope I have made clear, this is not unusual or exceptional. It is standard practice to take such a power to provide flexibility for smooth and efficient implementation.
Similarly, the power to make saving or incidental provision by regulations found at paragraph 29(3) of the Schedule is a standard power commonly given in legislation for the purposes of smoothing the introduction of a change to the statute book. Incidental provision would include only amendments that are necessary or expedient to make the Bill’s substantive provisions work. Saving provisions are required where it is necessary to preserve existing law following a change to legislation —for example, to ensure fairness or consistency in court proceedings in progress at the time of a change to legislation. As I have stated, these are standard clauses. Any amendment by regulations that amended, repealed or revoked primary legislation would be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure by virtue of paragraph 29(5), as befitting a Henry VIII power of this type. I hope that I have allayed noble Lords’ fears about that.
As a final point to my noble friend Lord Inglewood, the power in this Act would not allow us simply to move countries from Part 1 to Part 2 of the Extradition Act, nor to substantively amend Part 1. Those are not consequential amendments. With those explanations, I hope that noble Lords will feel happy to withdraw their amendments.
I thank the Minister very much for explaining that. I am reassured to a large extent by what she said. Would it be possible to give an example of one of those little technical things that would be changed so that we are clear what we are all talking about? If she cannot now, maybe she could write to us.
I am very happy to do that.
My Lords, I acknowledged that the regulations referred to in paragraph 29(2) must be within paragraph 29(1). I come back to the point that good housekeeping should be done before a Bill is presented to Parliament, not least because it would reduce the amount of time needed on the Bill in Parliament. For many years, I have recognised that it is a great deal easier to sit on this side of the House or Committee and pick holes than it must be to draft this stuff. Nevertheless, it is our job to pick some holes.
I do not apologise for raising this and cannot say that my concerns are wholly allayed: the words “necessary” and “expedient” were used in the delegated powers memorandum, along with “detailed and technical” about the nature of the amendments. I would like to assure myself that the words in the Bill reflect what has been said. I will possibly talk to the noble and learned Lord before the next stage. I beg leave to withdraw Amendment 12.
Amendment 12 withdrawn.
Amendment 13 not moved.
14: The Schedule, page 10, line 25, at end insert—
“( ) Sub-paragraph (1) and any regulations made under this paragraph expire at the end of the period of 12 months beginning with the day of this Schedule coming into force.”
My Lords, I thank the Minister for her words and put on record, which I have not yet done this afternoon, that I support the basic principles surrounding the provisions relating to arrest in this context. I heard what she said about the powers in the Bill and the withdrawal of countries from Part 1 of the 2003 Act. I think I read earlier today that the powers to do that by secondary legislation are contained in the 2003 Act itself, so there is a possibility of the whole EAW system, if I can call it that, collapsing. Then something has to be done next, but I will not major on that any more at this point. The Minister said that these were usual provisions; they may be usual provisions in usual times, but we are in slightly unusual times.
Amendment 14 not moved.
15: The Schedule, page 10, line 29, leave out “the National Assembly for Wales” and insert “Senedd Cymru”
Member’s explanatory statement
This amendment replaces the reference to the National Assembly for Wales with a reference to Senedd Cymru, reflecting the change made by the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 (anaw 1) to the name of the Assembly.
My Lords, the Government have laid Amendment 15 to reflect Section 2 of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020, which changes the name of the Welsh legislature to “Senedd Cymru or the Welsh Parliament”. This amendment is a technical consequential amendment. It follows the new practice of using the Welsh name when referring only to the Welsh legislature. I hope noble Lords will be able to join me in voting for this amendment.
I am very happy to support this amendment. While looking at it, I was thinking that Members of the Welsh Parliament are called Assembly Members. What will they be called in future? They are in a Parliament and are called AMs—will there be some consequential change there? Maybe someone could clarify that at some point.
I will try to do that. It is a technical point to which I do not know the answer.
My Lords, it might assist the noble Lord if I point out to him that they are Aelodau Senedd, or AS, in Welsh. It is “Senedd” with a “th” sound, not a “d” sound.
Amendment 15 agreed.
Schedule, as amended, agreed.
Bill reported with an amendment.
Committee adjourned at 4.18 pm.