Select Committee on Constitution Sixth Report


26 MARCH 2003

By the Select Committee appointed to examine the constitutional implications of all public bills coming before the House; and to keep under review the operation of the constitution.



1.  A bill has been introduced to this House to make provision about extradition. The Extradition Bill was brought from the House of Commons on 26th March 2003 (HL Bill 50).

2.  We considered that the extensive review of extradition law proposed by the bill was a matter of constitutional significance. We therefore wrote to the Home Secretary asking for further information on:

·  the Government's intentions regarding the designation of countries as category 1 territories, to which extradition under the new procedure set out in Part 1 of the bill would be possible;

·  the rationale for allowing countries to be designated as category 1 or 2 territories using Orders in Council subject only to the negative procedure;[1]

·  the reason why the European Framework list of 32 categories of conduct was not set out in a schedule to the bill; and

·  the Government's proposal to go beyond the requirements of the Framework Decision in disapplying the dual criminality safeguard for less serious offences.

3.  We are grateful to Lord Filkin, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Home Office, for replying promptly to our letter. Our correspondence is appended.

4.  As regards our proposal that the European Framework list of 32 categories of conduct should be included in a schedule to the bill, we consider that the reason given by Lord Filkin for rejecting this proposal (loss of flexibility) is not compelling. It would be a simple matter for the Government to take power in the Bill to amend the schedule by means of regulation should the need to do so arise.

5.  Lord Filkin reinforces the case for including the list in a schedule to the bill when he states that the Judge is required "to determine whether the conduct is extraditable under UK law (as set out in clauses 63 and 64)". Clause 63(2) requires that the conduct in question shall fall within the European framework list. It will therefore frequently be necessary for the Judge to have access to that list.

  1. We draw these matters to the attention of the House as raising questions of principle about principal parts of the constitution.

1   Although we draw attention to this point as a potential matter of constitutional significance, it is of course for the Delegated Powers Committee of the House of Lords to consider whether or not the Parliamentary procedure set out in the bill is appropriate. Back

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