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Green grass

There's nothing like a spot of comparative law to rekindle respect for our criminal justice system, writes Benjamin Newton

18 April 2011

Concerns we hold about the functioning of our criminal justice system are frequently put into context by a comparison with the systems of other countries. Rarely is this clearer than with requests for extradition by countries whose institutions and practices can be shown to fall short of our own, but with whom we have treaty obligations.

In Agius v Malta [2011] EWHC 759 (Admin), Sullivan LJ and Maddison J explicitly overturned a line of authorities established by Mitting J during 2010, thus re-establishing a requested persons’ human rights as an issue that must always be considered (pursuant to section 21 of the Extradition Act 2003) by a district judge before ordering extradition to a part 1 territory.

The issues raised on Mr Agius’ behalf were his rights pursuant to articles 3, 5 and 6 of the ECHR, specifically that if extradited to Malta he would be denied bail in circumstances contrary to article 5, imprisoned in conditions that violated article 3, and d...

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