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Case law

Supreme Court, Sakalis v. Ministry of Justice (Lithuania), [2013] UKSC 71

November 2013 - United Kingdom

The Ministry of Justice of Lithuania (MOJ) issued European Arrest Warrants (EAWs) seeking the return of a person who had been convicted of offences but absconded before serving any part of the sentence. It was contended that the MOJ was not a ‘judicial authority’ capable of issuing EAWs within the meaning of the EAW Framework Decision. The appeal followed the case of Assange earlier in 2013, in which it had been found that the concept of a ‘judicial authority’ was to be interpreted as covering a public prosecutor, in so far as EAWs issued for the purposes of prosecution were concerned. The Supreme Court found that the concept of ‘judicial authority’ was not limitless. In relation to EAWs issued for the purposes of executing a sentence, it found that a ministry of justice, when simply endorsing the prior decision of the court that issued the sentence or an equivalent judicial body, could be regarded as a ‘judicial authority’. By contrast, a ministry of justice which had the power to issue an EAW of its own motion or at the request of an executive agency such as a prison cannot be regarded ‘judicial authority’. Applying this approach, it found the EAW to be invalid, in that the decision had been taken by a prison on a discretionary basis, with a further discretionary decision by the MOJ. 

You can read the full judgment here.

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