CASE SUMMARY: Romania v Sandu [2019] EWHC 2208 (Admin)

13th Aug 2019

Background facts

The appellant, the Romanian judicial authority, appealed against a decision of District Judge Goldspring to order the discharge of Mr Sandu, the respondent. The extradition request, pursuant to an EAW, sought the respondent’s extradition to face a sentence of one years’ imprisonment for an offence of failing to provide a specimen for analysis after a road accident. The respondent successfully resisted extradition on the ground that the condition of Romanian prisons were such that there was a real risk that the respondent would face inhuman or degrading treatment, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, on his return.

During the initial hearing, the CPS sought assurance from the appellant judicial authority as to the conditions in which the respondent would be held upon extradition. The District Judge considered the assurances received in response to this request, to be equivocal and ambiguously worded.

Grounds of appeal

The appellant appealed on the grounds that the District Judge erred in concluding that the extradition would result in a real risk of violation of the respondent’s Article 3 rights.

Court’s decision and reasoning

The court allowed the appeal and remitted the case to the District Judge.

  1. Romania, as a member of the EU, benefitted from a strong presumption that it would abide by its ECHR obligations. Though this presumption was rebuttable (Grecu v Romania [2017] EWHC 1427 (Admin) cited), general assurances as to sufficiency of personal space as provided in this case are sufficiently “clear and specific” (Scerbatchi v Romania [2018] EWHC 3612 (Admin) followed).
  2. There is a strong public interest in the operation of the extradition regime between EU Member States and though the District Judge was entitled to have doubts about the assurances offered, the correct course of action at that point was to seek further clarification from Romania (US v Giese [2015] EWHC 2733 (Admin) followed).

Jasvinder Nakhwal
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7822 7753

Nick Vamos
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7822 7776