Peters & Peters

Contentious issues in UK/US extraditions: Nick Vamos comments

Ever since the US-UK extradition treaty was signed in 2003 there have since been heated arguments about whether it is lopsided. One reason may be that US prosecutors are more aggressive in pursuing extra-territorial cases, such as the case against Autonomy founder, Mike Lynch, whose actions took place in the UK but are alleged to have caused financial damage in the US.  That aggressive approach may lead to unfairness.


Nick Vamos considers whether it is ever in the interests of justice to extradite a suspect who could be tried more fairly in the UK. He says, “especially in high-profile fraud cases, the US criminal justice system relies heavily on ‘flipping’ junior employees”. These potential defendants are offered reduced sentences if they admit wrongdoing and give evidence against others. That’s possible because US prosecutors have a major say in sentencing. “The equivalent UK framework, to the obvious frustration of the Serious Fraud Office director Lisa Osofsky, does not permit such easy flipping. Heavy-handed plea-bargaining tactics employed by the US prosecutors are often viewed as coercive and unfair on this side of the Atlantic”.  Read more.