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Court of Justice hands down judgment in European Arrest Warrant case under urgent procedure

DATE: 29 Jul 2016

The CJEU has handed down its judgment in Case C-294/16 PPU, a challenge to the interpretation of the European Arrest Warrant Framework Decision (Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA). The case concerned an individual, Z, who had been convicted of drugs offences in Poland but fled to the UK before his sentencing hearing, at which he received a sentence of imprisonment of 3 years and 2 months. Poland subsequently issued a European Arrest Warrant seeking his surrender to the Polish authorities. He was arrested and initially detained in the UK, and then released on electronic tagging with a night-time home curfew. 

Article 26 of the Framework Decision requires periods of "detention" in the executing state (here, the UK) pending surrender to be deducted from the final sentence of detention imposed by the issuing state (Poland in this case). Following his return, the Polish Court referred a question to the Court of Justice as to whether "detention" in Article 26 included periods of time spent on electronic monitoring and under a curfew. Owing to Z's incarceration, the Court heard the matter under its urgent procedure (the "PPU" procedure). 

The United Kingdom appeared before the Court to argue as to the meaning of "detention" in Article 26. The Court has concluded that “detention” in that provision must be interpreted so as to include true measures of deprivation of liberty. Only if such measures can truly be described as deprivations of liberty can they be deducted from the period of detention. The measures at issue in the present case did not, in principle, constitute such measures. 

A copy of the Court’s press release is available here. The judgment is currently only available in French, Polish and Spanish. 

David Blundell appeared on behalf of the United Kingdom.