Archive for August 17th, 2012

Lawcast 219:  Carl Gardner on the Assange asylum issues

Today I am talking to Carl Gardner, ex government lawyer and author of The Head of Legal blog, about the Assange Asylum issue. Before we look at the practical  legality of the United Kingdom government’s threats to Ecuador warning them about The Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 – I want to put a few myths to bed by stating the legal position rather than some of the more bizarre and irrational concepts / constructs  used by commentators and commenters  in the press and on twitter

 1. The European Arrest warrant
What is it? – was it correctly applied? – is it valid?
European Arrest Warrant

2.  The United Kingdom Supreme Court judgment authorising Assange’s  extradition to Sweden

Carl Gardner: Lord Kerr on the Assange case

Carl Gardner: Supreme Court judgment: Assange v Swedish Judicial Authority

Carl Gardner: Could Assange apply to set aside the Supreme Court judgment?

Carl Gardner:  The Julian Assange ruling in full

Carl Gardner:  Extradition proceedings against Julian Assange

Carl Gardner: Where does Julian Assange go from here

Carl Gardner: Julian Assange can get out of this?

Without Prejudice
podcast on the UK Supreme Court judgment

Charon:  Podcast with Mark Stephens, Assange’s lawyer in 2010
Still relevant for context and history of Assange applications.

3.  Swedish rape would not be rape in England.
The High Court ruled that “It is clear that the allegation is that he had sexual intercourse with her when she was not in a position to consent and he could not have had any reasonable belief that she did.”


4.  Sweden is a lickspittle legal system.
No – It is a sovereign state, bound by the European Convention and International law

5. But Assange hasn’t been charged. 
In Sweden arrest is the first stage in the process followed by questioning.  Charges are usually laid shortly before the trial.

6. Can Sweden extradite Assange to USA?
Not without UK permission (Home Secretary)  S 58 Extradition Act / Article 28 Framework Decision
Neither Sweden or UK will extradite to USA where an individual will face the death penalty.  This is covered by The European Convention on Human Rights in the protocols

Has Assange actually broken any US laws:  US lawyers consulted think not.

7. The legality of UK Govt Threat to invoke The Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987
The Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987

Carl Gardner: Julian Assange: can the UK withdraw diplomatic status from the Ecuadorian embassy?
8. Is Britain bound to give safe passage? 
No – ‘diplomatic asylum’ is not recognised by Britain – although some countries do recognise it.  The concept is not recognised by International law – a matter of state derogation according to ICJ

 9. Can Assange take UK to International Court of Justice? 
No.  He is not a state.  Individuals are excluded from suit.  Ecuador can and has indicated preparedness to do so

10. Will Ecuador win? 
Yes (possibly)  if arrest inside embassy or 1987 Act invoked.  No – if Assange arrested on British soil.

Useful materials:

The Independent – Owen Jones: There should be no immunity for Julian Assange from these allegations.
Ecuador is wrong to describe the accusations against the WikiLeaks founder as ‘laughable’

The Blog That Peter Wrote:  Assange Cultism

The Blog That Peter Wrote: Assange

Charles Crawford:  Assange, Asylum and Immunity

Embassies have replaced churches as the setting for confrontations between rival legal orders and concepts of fairness. Assange is in a different world, writes a former UK ambassador

Assange case: a quick reference of legal issues for journalists (with sources)

Extradition of Assange to the US via Sweden for espionage
Dr Mark Klamberg, LL.D. Lecturer public international law, Stockholm University.


Listen to the podcast (46 Mins)


I’d like to thank Lawtel, WestlawCassons For Counsel, City University Law SchoolDavid Phillips & Partners Solicitors, Inksters SolicitorsIken, LBC Wise Counsel, Carrs Solicitors,  JMW Solicitors – Manchester, Pannone, BPP Law School, Brecher Solicitors and Cellmark for sponsoring the  the free student materials on Insite Law – appreciated.

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