On Feb 27th, in a document setting out its approach to negotiations with the EU, the UK government announced its intention to withdraw from the European Arrest Warrant. (Pg. 27)

Is the UK obligated to withdraw from the agreement as a result of leaving the EU, or could it have remained a signatory despite this?

If the former, has the government given any indication as to whether it intends to negotiate a similar agreement in the future, and if the latter, has the government given any reasoning as to why this step is being taken?

See also: Purpose of the European Arrest Warrant

  • 1
    Not useful as an excuse to arrest Assange now that they have him locked up? :-P
    – einpoklum
    Feb 28 '20 at 14:43
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    @einpoklum: I'm pretty sure the US is not part of the EAW ;-P If Assange had attended court in 2012, like he promised, he'd have been out of jail long ago and might never have had to face jail in UK or SE. Feb 28 '20 at 14:48
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    @RedGrittyBrick: Unlikely. There were indications the UK was intending to capture him for other reasons than the Swedish affair. But this is all off-topic so nevermind.
    – einpoklum
    Feb 28 '20 at 14:57
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    Not directly related, but it's worth mentioning that the UK has been accused of not being a good partner in the EU security cooperation system: theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jan/14/…
    – Erwan
    Feb 29 '20 at 14:01

The European Arrest Warrant is an EU council framework decision which only applies to and between EU Member States:

  1. The European arrest warrant is a judicial decision issued by a Member State with a view to the arrest and surrender by another Member State of a requested person, for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order.


The UK is ceasing to be a Member State, and the framework decision has no structure for non-Member States taking part, hence the UK must also leave the EAW community - the UK has made the decision not to try to have this situation altered.

Interestingly enough, the UK's “Future Relationship” document which lays out the intention to leave the EAW (or rather, not to seek continued membership of it), says the following:

The UK is not seeking to participate in the European Arrest Warrant as part of the future relationship. The agreement should instead provide for fast-track extradition arrangements, based on the EU’s Surrender Agreement with Norway and Iceland which came into force in 2019, but with appropriate further safeguards for individuals beyond those in the European Arrest Warrant.

This leaves some ambiguity, as the EU framework decision has the following line specifically in it:

  1. This Framework Decision shall apply to Gibraltar

This potentially means that Gibraltar could remain within the EAW community despite never being a member state, as it's explicitly mentioned as included. The UK document makes no mention of Gibraltar either.

  • "This Framework Decision shall apply to Gibraltar" - I guess Spain made an argument for that (e.g. criminals crossing the land border), if only to support its long term ambition of annexing Gibraltar!
    – alephzero
    Feb 28 '20 at 13:40
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    The government of Gibraltar seem to be in favour of continuing with the EAW. See paragraph 59 of HOUSE OF LORDS, European Union Committee, 13th Report of Session 2016–17 and Preparing for a no-deal Brexit Feb 28 '20 at 14:38
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    Since the Brexit plans didn't even think about the problems that would happen with Northern Ireland, expecting them to cover Gibraltar seems... optimistic.
    – Graham
    Feb 28 '20 at 15:50

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