New Judgment: BH (AP) & Anor v The Lord Advocate & Anor (Scotland); and another case  UKSC 24
20 Wednesday Jun 2012
On appeal from:  HCJAC 77
Whether extradition to the US on drugs charges would be incompatible with ECHR, art 8. The appellants submitted that the public interest in giving effect to the extradition request was outweighed by the consequences that this would have for the best interests of their children.
Held, unanimously dismissing the appeal. The appeal was competent as raising a devolution issue and the appellants were entitled to exercise their right to appeal under the Scotland Act 1998. Great weight must be given to the public interest in giving effect to a request for extradition. The more serious the offence the greater will be that weight. The approach to art 8 rights in extradition cases need not be radically different from that adopted in deportation or expulsion cases. The first appellant BH’s relationship with his children had effectively been brought to an end by the breakdown of the parents’ relationship. The argument that it would be contrary to their best interests for him to be extradited is, at best, very weak and does not come close to meriting his discharge under the Extradition Act 2003, s 87(2).
The second appellant KAS’ case was more difficult. Cases where both parents of young children are at risk of being extradited may be regarded as being of an exceptional character, so the court must be satisfied that the interests of justice cannot be served equally well by prosecuting the parents in this country. However, there are strong practical reasons for concluding that the United States, where most of the witnesses reside and the degree of criminality involved is best assessed, is the proper place for the appellants to be tried.