On appeal from: [2011] EWHC 2849 (Admin)

The appellant is the subject of a request for extradition by the Swedish Prosecuting Authority pursuant to an investigation into alleged offences of sexual misconduct and rape. His extradition was sought under a European Arrest Warrant (“EAW”) in accordance with the surrender procedures in the Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA  given effect in the UK under the Extradition Act 2003, Pt 1. The appellant’s challenge to extradition failed at the extradition hearing and before the Divisional Court, and he was granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on the ground that the Swedish prosecutor issuing the warrant was not a judicial authority under the meaning of the Framework Decision or the 2003 Act.

The Supreme Court held by a majority of 5 to 2 (L Hale and L Mance dissenting) that an EAW issued by a public prosecutor is a valid Pt 1 Warrant issued by a judicial authority within the meaning of ss 2(2) and 66 of the 2003 Act. It was held that the court should interpret the 2003 Act in accordance with the Framework Decision, and an earlier draft of that decision expressly stated that a prosecutor was a judicial authority. In addition to this, the intention to restrict the power to issue EAWs to a judge would have been made express, there were sufficient safeguards against the improper use of EAWs in the preceding process of their issue, and the draft referred to “competent judicial authority”, which envisaged different types of judicial authority executing warrants.

For judgment, please download: [2012] UKSC 22
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

UPDATE: Further statement

Julian Assange v Swedish Prosecution Authority
30 May 2012

Following this morning’s judgment by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in Assange v The Swedish Prosecution Authority, Ms Rose (counsel for the appellant, Mr Assange) has indicated that she may make an application to re-open the Court’s decision. Ms Rose suggested that the majority of the Court appear to have based their decision on the interpretation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, on which no argument was heard.

The Supreme Court has granted Ms Rose fourteen (14) days to make such an application. If she decides to do so, the Justices will then decide whether to re-open the appeal and accept further submissions (either verbally through a further hearing, or on paper) on the matter.

We will keep you updated on progress with this application and the Justices’ consideration of any such application.

With the agreement of the respondent, the required period for extradition shall not commence until 13th June 2012, the 14th day after judgment in accordance with section 36(3)(b) of the Extradition Act 2003.