Friday, May 25, 2012

Too late! Or is it ...?

As everyone knows, procedural laws are for bringing the law into effect. Procedure brings the law to life, as I once said. Another thing that everyone knows is that senior appellate courts spend much of their time getting people to be sensible.

Lucaszewski v The District Court in Torun, Poland [2012] UKSC 20 (23 May 2012) gets people to be sensible about time limits for filing notices when statutory requirements are expressed in absolute terms.

The Court did not overrule Mucelli v Govt of Albania [2009] UKHL 2 (21 January 2009), noted here on 23 January 2009, although Lady Hale would have preferred to. However she agreed with the reasoning and conclusion of the leading judgment, delivered by Lord Mance.

Just as Mucelli reminded us of the Latin dies non, so does Lord Mance now remind us of  non constat [19]. These things don't go unnoticed.

Anyway, Lucaszewski allows that timely notice of intention to appeal an extradition order can be given although the document does not comply with the enacted form, if the court decides to permit the informality. Also, where a defendant is a citizen, as opposed to an alien, his civil right to enter and remain in the country attracts the right to a fair hearing when extradition is sought, and the court may extend time for the defendant to file documents if that would promote his rights, even if no discretion to extend time appears on the face of an enactment.