Friday, August 12, 2011

Extradition, separation of powers, abuse of process and the Westminster model

Extradition can be opposed on abuse of process grounds: Fuller v Attorney-General (Belize) [2011] UKPC 23 (9 August 2011) at [58]. The relevant sort of abuse of process would be [5]:

"(i) making use of the process of the court in a manner which is improper, such as adducing false evidence or indulging in inordinate delay, or (ii) using the process of the court in circumstances where it is improper to do so, as for instance where a defendant has been brought before the court in circumstances which are an affront to the rule of law, or (iii) using the process of the court for an improper motive or purpose, such as to extradite a defendant for a political motive."
An application for habeas corpus may be granted and a stay ordered. In the absence of an express constitutional provision to the contrary, it is a characteristic of democracies in the Westminster tradition that separation of powers places in the hands of an independent and impartial judiciary the protection of fundamental human rights [38-41]. The decision on whether extradition would be an abuse of process is not therefore one exclusively for the executive to make.