On 25th July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) handed down a preliminary ruling that the Irish High Court was correct not to extradite Artur Celmer to Poland. The CJEU accepted that Mr Celmer could be at real risk of not receiving a fair trial before an independent and impartial tribunal if he is extradited to Poland.
The CJEU gave guidance as to how courts in EU Member States should approach future similar cases. The judges made clear that the general rule is that any European Arrest Warrant (EAW) should be executed promptly because the principle of mutual recognition means there is a presumption that all EU Member States respect the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. However, in exceptional cases, courts who are considering extraditing people to EU Member States where there is a risk that they will not have access to a fair trial decided by an independent and impartial tribunal should:
- review up-to-date evidence on the independence of the judiciary and access to a fair trial within the requesting Member State;
- if there is found to be systemic issues and deficiencies within the requesting Member State’s judicial system, the executing judicial authority should determine whether the person subject to the EAW is likely to be affected by those systemic deficiencies to such an extent that their right of access to an independent and impartial tribunal and fair trial is impeded.
If that is found to be the case, then the EAW should not be executed.