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The three phases of extradition

Whether you are a citizen, an immigrant or a visitor to a foreign country, a charge of any level criminal offence can be a frightening experience. That said, international crimes carry additional complexities in the number of agencies involved and the details of the procedures that must be followed.  

For example, Canada maintains an extradition treaty with the United States. Canada can extradite an individual to stand trial in the United States as long as numerous criteria are met. For example, the alleged conduct must be recognized by both countries as a criminal act. If these conditions are met, the foreign country may seek the extradition in two ways – by providing Canada with a formal extradition request and supporting documentation or by requesting the person’s provisional arrest in advance of the formal extradition request.

The extradition process includes three crucial steps:

  • Authority to proceed: Based on a thorough examination of all the data that has been provided, Department of Justice officials will decide whether the extradition process can move forward.
  • Judicial phase: The judicial phase is the extradition hearing itself. It will take place before a judge of the superior court.
  • Ministerial phase: This is the decision on surrender. Based on the Extradition Act, the decision cannot be delegated and must be made by the Minister of Justice.

A Canadian facing a criminal offence in a foreign country will likely face a similar process. Whether you are a Canadian citizen facing extradition from another country or you are visiting Canada and are facing extradition to your home country, you need an experienced defence lawyer who can guide you through the process and protect your rights. International criminal defence can be a challenging area and it is crucial that you have experience on your side.

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