Extradition Lawyer Ottawa • Extradition Lawyer Toronto

What is Extradition?

Extradition is something you want to avoid at all costs. It means losing all the protections that Canada's legal, judicial and political systems give you, and instead being at the mercy of a foreign power.

It doesn't matter if that foreign power superficially has vaguely similar systems to our own. Depending on where you are being extradited from and to, you could still wind up with an unfair trial, on unfounded charges, based on an illegal investigation, and sentenced to a lifetime of prison or even execution without effective means of appeal. 

For these very reasons, many countries will never under any circumstances hand over one of their citizens to another country for prosecution. Unfortunately Canada isn't one of those countries. It will hand over its nationals. But only on strict conditions, and after a hearing. 

Why Challenge Extradition?

There's rarely much to gain by consenting to extradition, and lots of advantages to fighting it, other than potentially time spent in custody in Canada during the process (getting bail while fighting extradition is rare but possible), and the resources you'll need to fight it. 

How to Challenge Extradition from Canada: 5 Steps to Winning Your Freedom

Winning an extradition fight is more difficult than winning a criminal trial, because for extradition the requesting party doesn't have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But it's definitely possible to successfully fight extradition for a variety of reasons.

1. There is no equivalent criminal offence in Canada

Whether extradition can happen depends on there being an approximately equivalent criminal offence in Canada. There are some acts in Canada that are serious offences (like tax evasion) that other countries only consider to be non-criminal administrative matters, and conversely some countries criminalize acts that are legal or at least not criminal in Canada. 

2. The offence isn't sufficiently serious

Extradition will usually only happen for serious offences. Seriousness is judged by both Canada's laws and the foreign requesting state's laws. So for something like shoplifting, extradition isn't likely to happen. 

3. Proper technical procedure has not been followed

Extradition involves all sorts of technical formalities. While it's rare to succeed solely on the argument that there should be no extradition because of technical defects in the process, it's an argument that may be worth making if there are obvious legal deficiencies in the extradition request. 

4. Receiving a fair trial in the requesting state will be impossible

While the fair trial argument is likewise challenging to succeed on, if it can be shown that the requesting state has a terrible human rights record and a dubious justice system, a Canadian court might be sympathetic to this objection to extradition. 

5. Canada has no extradition treaty with the requesting state or the request doesn't fit the treaty

Canada will usually only extradite to countries it has concluded an extradition treaty with, though it will consider non-treaty requests for very serious offences on a case by case basis. Even where there is a treaty, its wording will be strictly construed by Canada's courts, and each extradition treaty is unique, so what is alleged may not fall within the boundaries of extraditable offences according to treaty language.

When to Challenge Extradition?

Fighting extradition is more reactive than proactive. It might take many years for a foreign country to show interest in your living in Canada, or to even learn about your being in Canada.

Once that interest and knowledge of location align, an extradition arrest warrant within Canada is the first step in the process which seeks to temporarily lock up a person pending full blown extradition proceedings. Extradition bail is theoretically possible, but requires great planning and resources in order to convince a court that there is no flight risk. 

During the extradition process itself, both Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and technical treaty language arguments can be raised to oppose extradition. 

Why Retain Our Firm to Fight Your Extradition?

The firm has extensive experience dealing with extradition matters. We've appeared at both the appellate and trial levels on extradition cases. The firm's Principal Barrister Gordon S. Campbell served as extradition counsel with the Federal Prosecution Service of the Department of Justice Canada, and has published books addressing the topic of extradition. The firm is dedicated to fin legally ways to escape from extradition demands.