Human Rights and Equality Commission Granted Liberty to Appear Before Supreme Court in Right to Fair Trial Case


Commission to Appear as Amicus Curiae in Case

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (‘the Commission’) has been granted liberty from the Supreme Court to exercise its amicus curiae (‘friend of the court’) function in an internationally significant case relating to the European Arrest Warrant system and an individual’s right to a fair trial.

The case (Artur Celmer v. Minister for Justice and Equality) has been appealed directly from the High Court to the Supreme Court as it is of significant public importance. The case centres on the requested extradition of Mr. Artur Celmer, a Polish national, to Poland under the European Arrest Warrant system, where concerns have been raised by Mr. Celmer over recent legislative changes in Poland about the independence of the judiciary, the courts and the Public Prosecutor. These changes, according to Mr. Celmer, undermine the possibility of him having a fair trial.

In the High Court in November 2018, Ms. Justice Donnelly found that concerns raised by Mr. Celmer in relation to Poland’s judicial independence did not reach the threshold of amounting to a real risk of a flagrant denial of his right to a fair trial. On that basis, the High Court ordered Mr. Celmer’s surrender on each of three European Arrest Warrants, however that decision has been appealed to the Supreme Court.

The November High Court judgment came following a referral of two questions by the High Court in Dublin to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Luxembourg.

As amicus curiae, the Commission will assist the Supreme Court by making submissions drawing on international and domestic law in relation to extradition proceedings.

Emily Logan Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission stated:

 “The Commission will now exercise our amicus curiae role to assist the Supreme Court in its adjudication of the right to a fair trial issues at question. This case will be significant in ensuring that there is clarity around determining whether or not extradition should be granted when a fair trial issue arises in the execution of European Arrest Warrants.”

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