Case Preview: Norris v Government of United States
26 Thursday Nov 2009
This is the second visit to the UK’s highest court by Ian Norris, former CEO of the Morgan Crucible group, to attempt to prevent his extradition to the United States of America.
On 12 March 2008, the House of Lords rejected part of Mr. Norris’ appeal against the order for his extradition to the United States of America on price-fixing cartel charges ( UKHL 16  AC 920). Whilst many of the alleged offences were held not to amount to extradition offences, some were. At the conclusion (para. 110) of the composite opinion of the Committee (Lord Bingham, Lord Rodger, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown and Lord Neuberger), the House of Lords observed that a decision under section 87(1) of the 2003 Act as to whether the defendant’s extradition would be incompatible with his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (“the Convention”) called for a judgment on the proportionality of an extradition order in all the circumstances; and that the district judge had exercised his judgment on the basis that the defendant was to be extradited on the main price fixing count and not merely on the subsidiary counts.
Notwithstanding the terms of section 115 of the 2003 Act, the House of Lords exercised its inherent power to remit the case to the District Judge to reconsider whether Mr. Norris’ extradition was still compatible with Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights.
The District Judge ruled that it was, notwithstanding the ill-health of Mr. Norris and his wife, proportionate to order Mr. Norris’ extradition. The High Court upheld that ruling ( EWHC 995 (Admin)). The decision is reported here. The High Court acknowledged that no “exceptionality” threshold should apply to Article 8 of the Convention in an extradition context (see Huang v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKHL 11;  2 AC 167) but nonetheless applied a high threshold test; a requirement for “striking and unusual facts” test derived from Jaso (aka Ruiz) v Central Criminal Court No.2 Madrid  EHWC 2983 (Admin);  1 WLR 2798.
On Monday 30 November and Tuesday 1 December, the Supreme Court will convene its second 9-member panel (Lord Phillips, Lord Hope, Lord Rodger, Lady Hale, Lord Brown, Lord Mance, Lord Judge, Lord Collins and Lord Kerr) to determine the applicable test to be applied under Article 8 of the Convention in an extradition context.