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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

10 FEB 2016

GS v Hungary [2016] EWHC 64 (Admin)

Joseph Tomlinson

University of Manchster

GS v Hungary [2016] EWHC 64 (Admin)

Immigration-Extradition-Prison  Conditions-Assurances-Article 3 ECHR

The Appellants were to be extradited to Hungary.  The Hungarian authorities provided an assurance relating to the space that each Appellant would enjoy if incarcerated. That assurance, alongside other safeguards, meant that any concern that the Appellants’ Article 3 ECHR rights  may be violated could be dispelled.

 21 January 2016

Administrative Court

Burnett LJ;  Ouseley J

1. The Appellants were to be extradited to the Respondent state, Hungary. The Hungarian authorities provided an assurance relating to the space that each Appellant would enjoy if incarcerated.

2. In Varga  v Hungary (14097/12) (2015) 61 E.H.R.R. 30, the European Court of Human Rights had required the Hungarian authorities to generate a schedule to reduce prison overcrowding. The Varga case thus rebutted that presumption that Convention States comply with their ECHR obligations vis-à-vis Article 3 and prison conditions in Hungary. Article continues below...
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3. The issue was whether the assurance excluded any ground for believing that the Appellants may have their Article 3 rights violated if they were extradited to Hungary.


4. The appeals were dismissed.

5. The assurance, provided by the Hungarian Ministry of Justice and the National Headquarters of the Hungarian Prison Service, had the effect of dispelling any doubts about Article 3 compliance.

6. There were multiple other factors that also dispelled any doubts about Article 3 compliance that may arise:

7. The Appellants each had a lawyer in the UK and they would also have lawyers in Hungary. These legal representatives could raise any issues about compliance;

8. The Appellants could also complain to the General Ombudsman set up by Hungary as its National Preventative Mechanism (a complaint route explicitly mentioned in the assurance);

9. No complaints about the prisons had been made at the time of the hearing, and awareness would be further raised by the presence of the assurance; and

10. The British Embassy (or another appropriate body) was in a position to be capable of directly monitoring the assurance, as the assurance was a diplomatic undertaking that Hungary considered binding.

KEY PARAGRAPHS: [5-6]; [15-17]; [29-36].