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COPFS

European Arrest Warrants which COPFS has declined to execute (R015272)

Thank you for your request for information:

1) Please state the number of European Arrest Warrants which the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service refused to execute in each of the following calendar years: 2005-2016

2) Please break down the number of European Arrest Warrants which the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service refused to execute by the country that issued the warrant in each of the following calendar years: 2005-2016

3) For each country listed above, please break down the numbers of European Arrest Warrants which the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service refused to execute by a) the crime for which the warrant was issued

b) the reason that execution of the warrant was rejected by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

As you will be aware, the European Arrest Warrant was introduced into United Kingdom Law on 1 January 2004 with the coming into force of the Extradition Act 2003.

Prior to 15 April 2015, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service’s role was to certify European Arrest Warrants in accordance with the legislation. Certification means confirming that the EAW complies with the relevant provisions of the Extradition Act 2003 and deciding that it can be executed. Since 15 April 2015, the National Crime Agency has had the function of certifying and declining to certify EAWs. As COPFS no longer has this function, you should contact the National Crime Agency for information about the number of EAWs they have refused to execute since 15 April 2015.

The Extradition Act sets out the conditions of validity of an EAW. Where an EAW does not meet these conditions, COPFS was entitled to decline to execute the EAW. In most cases, EAW were not certified due to the fact that the offence or offences set out in the EAW were not a crime in Scotland. Under sections 64 and 65 of the Extradition Act 2003, in order for an offence to be an extradition offence it must be a crime both in the state which issued the EAW and the receiving state. This is called the requirement of "dual criminality." This also convers instances where a foreign state may be able to exercise jurisdiction over offences committed outwith that state in circumstances where Scotland cannot.

I am afraid that we do not hold the information you have requested prior to 2012. Prior to that date, information about the refusal of EAWs was not recorded in a way in which the information you have requested can be easily extracted. The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service's case management database is a live, operating database. It is designed to meet our business needs in relation to the processing of extradition cases, and the information within it is structured accordingly. We do not have a separate database, and hold only operational data needed for business purposes.

While we do endeavour to provide information whenever possible, in respect of information during the years 2005-2012, the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. Under Section 12 of FOISA, public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying would exceed the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by Regulations made under Section 12. In order to identify cases where EAW have been refused and the reasons, Crown Office staff would have to manually consider all European Arrest Warrants received during the years requested and I am satisfied that, due to the large number of cases that would have to be considered, this would exceed the upper cost limit of £600. Many records will also have been destroyed, in line with out records management policy.

CASES in which COPFS has declined to execute a European Arrest Warrant

YEAR

Number declined in total

OFFENCE

COUNTRY

REASON FOR NON-EXECUTION

2012

1

Fraud

Latvia

Requested person was serving a lengthy prison sentence in the UK. Execution of EAW disproportionate.

2013

3

3 x Failure to pay Child Maintenance

Poland x 2

France x 1

Offence does not meet the test of dual criminality. Failure to pay child maintenance is not a crime in Scotland

2014

4

Fraud

Poland

Requested person was serving a lengthy sentence in the UK. Execution of EAW disproportionate.

    2 x Failure to pay Child Maintenance

Poland

Offence does not meet the test of dual criminality. Failure to pay child maintenance is not a crime in Scotland

    Road Traffic Offence

Latvia

Offence did not meet the test of dual criminality

2015

1

Fraud

Poland

Offences were committed outwith Poland. Under Scots law, extra-territorial jurisdiction was not available over the offence therefore dual criminality requirement was not met.