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Case law

CJEU, Case C‑640/15, Tomas Vilkas

January 2017 - Ireland

European Arrest Warrant

In this judgement the CJEU responded to a preliminary question referred by an Irish court concerning the interpretation of Article 23 of Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European  Arrest  Warrant  and  the  surrender  procedures  between  Member  States,  in  surrender proceedings of a requested person to Lithuania. Mr Vilkas was the subject of two EAWs, issued by a Lithuanian court. The High Court decided that Mr Vilkas was to be surrendered to the Lithuanian authorities not later than 10 days after the orders took effect. In that time frame the Irish authorities attempted to surrender Mr Vilkas, but due to the resistance put up by Mr Vilkas, that first surrender attempt to fail. Subsequently, the High Court then ordered that Mr Vilkas be surrendered to the Lithuanian authorities not later than 10 days, but again, a fresh surrender attempt failed on account of Mr Vilkas’s behaviour. The Minister for Justice and Equality (Ireland) consequently applied to the High Court for authorisation for a third attempt at surrendering Mr Vilkas to the Lithuanian authorities. The High Court held, however, that given the expiration of the time frame initially set up, it lacked jurisdiction to hear this application and ordered Mr Vilkas’s release. The Minister for Justice and Equality brought an appeal against that judgment and the Court of Appeal decided to stay proceedings and refer a questions to the CJEU in this regard. The Court held that “the mere expiry of the time limits prescribed in Article 23 of the Framework Decision cannot relieve the executing Member State of its obligation to carry on with the procedure for executing a European arrest warrant and to surrender the requested person, and the authorities concerned must
agree, for that purpose, on a new surrender date. Nonetheless, in such a situation, it follows from Article 23(5) of the Framework Decision that, on account of the expiry of the time limits prescribed in Article 23, the requested person must be released if he is still being held in custody”. Additionally, the Court held that Articles 15(1) and 23 of the Framework Decision must be interpreted as meaning  that  the  authorities  remain  obliged  to  agree  on  a  new  surrender  date  if  the  time  limits prescribed in Article 23 have expired.

You can read the full judgment here.

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