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What is the concept of dual criminality in extradition?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2021 | Extradition |

International extradition follows a complex process with numerous checks and balances built in. No matter the allegation, it is wise to have a thorough understanding of the process and any challenges that could potentially arise during any phase.

In Canada, the extradition process contains three strictly-defined phases with several elements that must be satisfied along the way. The three phases are described as the authority to proceed phase, the judicial phase and the Ministerial phase. Through all three phases, two concepts remain central:

  • Formal request: A partner typically seeks extradition by providing a formal request with all supporting documentation included in the initial package. Additionally, the requesting country can ask for a provisional arrest and then follow it with a formal extradition request.
  • Dual criminality: While it is a complex concept, the notion of dual criminality essentially boils down to whether officials consider the offence criminal both in Canada and the requesting country.

At this stage in the process, the legal system does not attempt to evaluate evidence or reach any sort of ruling regarding guilt or innocence. The matter simply boils down to whether the conduct would constitute an offence under the law in both extradition partner states. While the elements of equivalent offences need not be identical, the central question is whether the offence itself would trigger a criminal case.

International treaties and extradition laws are complex are require the attention of a strong defender. A defence lawyer can thoroughly examine the entire process, challenging elements of the formal extradition request and the determination of dual criminality. Additionally, it might be possible to appeal an extradition order based on numerous factors. Do not hesitate to shield yourself from devastating criminal penalties.

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