High Court Upholds Extradition Decision Despite Article 8 ECHR Challenge

Citation: [2023] EWHC 2955 (Admin)
Judgment on


The High Court of Justice, in the case of Zygmunt Rawicz-Oledzki v Circuit Court in Poznan (Poland), had to consider the balance between public interest in extradition and the individual’s rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), pertaining to respect for private and family life. This analysis will closely examine the legal principles applied within this case to elucidate the court’s reasoning behind its verdict.

Key Facts

Zygmunt Rawicz-Oledzki, the appellant, faced an extradition request by Poland related to alleged drug offenses, specifically street dealing, between 1999 and 2003. The appellant had been living in the UK since 2006 and led a crime-free and productive life without any additional convictions during his stay. The appellant was arrested based on an Extradition Arrest Warrant certified in 2021, with extradition ordered by District Judge Clarke in November 2022. The only contested issue was Article 8 ECHR, primarily because other challenges to the extradition, such as the appellant’s fugitive status upon entry to the UK, were accepted as unchallengeable.

The main legal principle at hand was the balance between the public interest in extradition and the individual rights under Article 8 ECHR. The court had to consider whether the Judge at first instance made any error in approach or in weighing the correct factors in deciding to order extradition.

The first principle assessed was the role of the passage of time and the appellant’s life during that period, including living a productive life without convictions in the UK. The court considered the delay in extradition proceedings, which may potentially reduce the weight of the public interest.

Another principle involved was the status of the appellant as a fugitive, which the court held decisively tilts the balance of public interest against the Article 8 rights of the appellant.

The final principle considered the severity of the index offending and the appellant’s age when committing the alleged offenses. Emphasis was given to the fact that the appellant was engaged in “street dealing” drugs to a minor, which carries significant public interest weight against any Article 8 argument.


Permission to appeal was refused by the High Court, represented by FORDHAM J. The court found that the Judge’s decision at first instance did not display any errors in approach or substantive assessment of the Article 8 balance. The public interest factors, particularly those linked to the appellant’s status as a fugitive, were found to “decisively outweigh” the personal situation of the appellant in ensuring his extradition. The recent breakdown of the appellant’s relationship was noted as additional context but made clear that the decision would have been the same regardless.


The case articulates how the courts interpret Article 8 ECHR in the context of extradition proceedings, affirming the strong public interest in the prosecution of international crime, which can supersede the individual’s right to private and family life, especially in the setting of serious allegations like drug dealing to minors. It also showcased the limited impact of the passage of time and personal rehabilitation upon the public interest in ensuring fugitives face justice in the requesting state. This case reinforces the significant hurdles that need to be overcome for an Article 8 ECHR argument to succeed in extradition proceedings in the UK, especially regarding serious offenses and when the requested individual has evaded justice for a considerable period.