Assange v The Swedish Prosecution Authority [2012] UKSC 22

One of the most high profile appeals heard by the Supreme Court in 2012 was brought by Julian Assange, who is the subject of a request for extradition by Sweden for the purposes of an investigation into alleged offences of sexual molestation and rape. Mr Assange challenged the validity of the European Arrest Warrant in his case, which was issued by a Swedish prosecutor. Under the Extradition Act 2003, which gave effect in the United Kingdom to a Framework Decision of the Council of the European Union in 2002, EAWs had to be issued by a ‘judicial authority’. The Supreme Court held by a majority that the words ‘judicial authority’ in the Framework Decision included prosecutors as well as courts, taking into account the previous and subsequent practice of a large number of member states designating public prosecutors as the competent judicial authority authorised to issue EAWs, and that the same term in the Extradition Act should be given the same meaning. Thus the EAW was validly issued and Mr Assange’s appeal was dismissed.