High Court Addresses Extradition and Human Rights in Smolarek v Polish Judicial Authority

Citation: [2023] EWHC 2860 (Admin)
Judgment on


In the matter of Jacek Smolarek v Polish Judicial Authority, a case concerning extradition proceedings, the High Court of Justice in the King’s Bench Division (Administrative Court) addressed several legal principles relating to extradition law and human rights considerations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Honourable Mr. Justice Fordham presided over the case and delivered a judgment that highlighted the complexities of balancing individual rights against public interests in extradition cases.

Key Facts

Jacek Smolarek, a 61-year-old individual, faced extradition to Poland following a conviction Extradition Arrest Warrant issued in 2012. Mr. Smolarek had been residing in the United Kingdom since 2006 and was arrested in 2022 for the misappropriation of entrusted property dating back to 2004. District Judge Zani ordered extradition, a decision against which Mr. Smolarek sought to appeal solely on the grounds of Article 8 ECHR – the right to respect for private and family life.

Mr. Smolarek’s legal representatives made a plea for adjournment of the hearing, which was denied on the grounds that competent alternative counsel could adequately represent the appellant within the given timeframe. The sole issue pursued was whether the extradition would constitute a disproportionate interference with Mr. Smolarek’s right under Article 8 ECHR.

The legal principles at play in this case were predominantly concerned with extradition laws and Article 8 of the ECHR. Mr. Justice Fordham’s judgment applied these principles systematically while addressing the appellant’s grounds for appeal:

  1. Adjournment: The court exercised its discretion to refuse adjournment, indicating that equitable and effective judicial process takes precedence when adequate alternative representation is available.

  2. Good Character and Seriousness of Offence: The appellant’s good character was acknowledged, but the gravity of the offence was considered in light of its nature and the breach of trust involved.

  3. Article 8 ECHR: The seminal principle underpinning the appeal, Article 8, was scrutinized by balancing the appellant’s family ties in the UK against the public interest in extradition. The court applied the ‘balance sheet’ approach mandated by the precedent set in HH v Italy [2012] UKSC 25 to weigh the proportionality of interference with private and family life against the seriousness of the offence and the public interest in complying with extradition requests.

  4. Passage of Time: The length of time between the offence, the issue of the warrant, and certification, as well as the period awaiting extradition, were held as factors to consider in the Article 8 ECHR analysis, although not decisively in favour of the appellant.

These principles – along with the court’s findings related to the absence of false security provided by the Polish authorities and the lack of culpable delay in the extradition process – informed the court’s refusal to grant permission to appeal.


The key outcomes from Mr. Justice Fordham’s judgment can be summarized as follows:

  • Permission to appeal was refused.
  • Article 8 rights were deemed not infringed upon to the extent that would outweigh the public interest in extradition.
  • The passage of time, although a relevant factor in the Article 8 analysis, was not sufficient to render the extradition order disproportionate, given the balance of all other factors.
  • The initial finding by the district judge concerning the appellant’s character and the seriousness of the offending was upheld.


In conclusion, the case of Jacek Smolarek v Polish Judicial Authority illustrates the UK High Court’s application of extradition law and human rights considerations, particularly in relation to Article 8 ECHR. The refusal to grant an appeal emphasizes the robustness of the judicial analysis required when assessing the proportionality of extradition against the backdrop of the right to private and family life. Mr. Justice Fordham’s judgment reaffirms the balance that must be struck between individual rights and public interests in the context of international judicial cooperation.