Prof. Joanna Harrington authors article pushing for reforms to extradition law

Faculty of Law - 26 August 2022

The Faculty of Law’s Eldon Foote Chair, and College Associate Dean Research, Professor Joanna Harrington has authored an article recently published in the Transnational Criminal Law Review.

The article examines the need for extradition law reform and recommends a greater role for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. As Harrington explains, "Extradition is seen as the purview of the Minister of Justice. It has been siloed, with arguments of speed and efficiency having led to a system that gives the Minister of Justice the determinative role in deciding whether a wanted person should be surrendered to another country to face trial."

But, as Harrington further explains, “extradition is rarely swift, as Canadians have seen with the extensive media coverage of the Meng Wanzhou case, and Hassan Diab case, and the Badesha case, among several others.”

“And speed is not the best way to protect the fundamental rights of the person involved. Extradition is not the same as returning goods across a border. An extradition decision takes away a person’s liberty, and concerns about trial fairness in another country, and the fairness of treatment in foreign prisons, in my view, frankly deserve some time spent on investigation and a full consideration of the extent of such risks.”

In the article, Harrington argues that there is a need to make greater use of the human rights monitoring expertise that resides within a foreign ministry to determine what conditions should be imposed, and what assurances should be obtained, before Canada approves a request to extradite.