Supreme Court

Goluchowski v District Court in Elblag, Poland

Sas v Circuit Court in Zielona Gora, Poland and another

[2016] UKSC 36; [2016] WLR (D) 345

2016 March 14; June 29

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury PSC, Lord Mance, Lord Wilson, Lord Hughes and Lord Toulson JJSC

Extradition — European arrest warrant — Validity — Persons convicted of offences and sentenced to imprisonment — Convicted persons released subject to conditions or pending appeal but liable to immediate recall — Recall activated but convicted persons not responding — Domestic arrest warrants issued but convicted persons found to be in England — European arrest warrant issued specifying details of conviction but not details of consequential domestic summonses or arrest warrants — Whether European arrest warrant valid — Extradition Act 2003 (c 41), s 2(6)(c) — Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA, art 8(1)


In each case the requested person, a Polish national was convicted of serious offences in Poland and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. In the first case the sentence was suspended but later activated because the requested person failed to adhere to the terms of the suspension. In the second case the requested person, with regard to two relevant sentences, had been (i) on release pending an unsuccessful appeal and (ii) on conditional early release which had been revoked because of breaches of the applicable conditions. In each case the requested person was required to surrender himself to the Polish authorities to serve the outstanding sentence but failed to do so. Various summonses and arrest warrants were issued in Poland which failed to achieve the apprehension of the requested persons and, upon discovering that the requested persons were in England, European arrest warrants were issued and served on the appropriate authorities. The European arrest warrants outlined the convictions and sentences imposed but did not provide details of the Polish summonses and arrest warrants which had been issued to secure the detention of the requested persons. The Crown requested further information from the Polish authorities which was subsequently provided. The requested persons challenged the validity of the European arrest warrants on the grounds that they contained no reference to the previous Polish arrest warrants, which, they said, contravened the mandatory requirement in section 2(6)(c) of the Extradition Act 2003 that a warrant must contain “particulars of any other warrant issued” in the requesting state “for the person’s arrest in respect of the offence”, reflecting requirements in article 8.1(c) of Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA on the European arrest warrant and surrender procedures used by member states. In each case the judge dismissed the challenge but certified points of law of general public importance. The requested persons appealed.


Held, appeals dismissed. A significant difference existed in the bases on which a European arrest warrant rested in cases in which a person was accused of a crime and wanted for trial and those in which he had already been convicted of a crime. In a case where he had been convicted of a crime the natural basis of a European arrest warrant was “an enforceable judgment” or “any other enforceable judicial decision having the same effect” pursuant to article 8.1(c) of Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA and where that existed there was no reason why there should necessarily be any domestic arrest warrant or equivalent, and, if there was, there was no obvious reason why it should also be required to be evidenced in the European arrest warrant as it was irrelevant; likewise, under section 2 of the Extradition Act 2003, all that was required of a European arrest warrant was that it identify the original conviction, the length of sentence passed and that the sentence was liable to be served immediately. If the requested state required any further information it could always request it. A European arrest warrant was not to be treated as invalid or ineffective merely because the full history of the case did not appear in the warrant itself and only became apparent from information subsequently requested. Where such subsequently obtained information established that a warrant was in substance justified it would be absurd to set the warrant aside. Consequently, even if a reference to the domestic decisions to detain the requested persons should have been made in the European arrest warrants, such a defect in formal procedure had been rectified by the requested information received by the Crown and could not render the warrants unenforceable under the Framework Decision and, by extension, section 2(6) of the 2003 Act.

Cases Considered

Parchetul de pe lângă Curtea de Apel Cluj v Bob-Dogi (Case C-241/15) EU:C:2016:385, ECJ applied.

Dabas v High Court of Justice in Madrid, Spain [2007] 2 AC 31, HL(E) and Zakrzewski v District Court in Torun, Poland [2013] 1 WLR 324, SC(E) considered.

Appellate History

Decisions of Mitting J [2015] EWHC 332 (Admin) and King J [2015] EWHC 648 (Admin) affirmed.


Clare Montgomery QC and James Stansfeld (instructed by Lawrence and Co Solicitors, Maida Vale) for the requested person in the first case.

Mark Summers QC and Nicholas Hearn (instructed by Kaim Todner Solicitors) for the requested person in the second case.

Julian Knowles QC, Mary Westcott and Saoirse Townshend (instructed by Appeals and Review Unit, Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division) for the Crown.

Reported by: Ms B L Scully, Barrister

© 2016. The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales.