Can the Minister of Justice deny an extradition order?

The Minister of Justice may decline to surrender a person ordered extradited by a judge after an extradition hearing. The Extradition Act sets out both mandatory and discretionary grounds for refusal to surrender.

Under sections 44 and 46 of the Extradition Act, the Minister of Justice must refuse to make a surrender order where:

  • Surrender would be unjust or oppressive having regard to all the relevant circumstances;
  • The request for extradition is made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing the person by reason of their race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, language, colour, political opinion, sex, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical disability or status or that the person's position may be prejudiced for any of those reasons;
  • The conduct in respect of which extradition is sought is a political offence or an offence of a political character;
  • the conduct in respect of which extradition is sought is a military offence that is not also an offence under criminal law; or
  • the conduct in respect of which extradition is sought is a political offence or an offence of a political character.

Under sections 44(2) and 47 of the Extradition Act, the Minister of Justice may refuse to make a surrender order where:

  • the conduct in respect of which the request for extradition is made is punishable by death under the laws that apply to the extradition partner;
  • the person would be entitled, if that person were tried in Canada, to be discharged under the laws of Canada because of a previous acquittal or conviction;
  • the person was convicted in their absence and could not, on surrender, have the case reviewed;
  • the person was less than eighteen years old at the time of the offence and the law that applies to them in the territory over which the extradition partner has jurisdiction is not consistent with the fundamental principles governing the Youth Criminal Justice Act;
  • the conduct in respect of which the request for extradition is made is the subject of criminal proceedings in Canada against the person; or
  • none of the conduct on which the extradition partner bases its request occurred in the territory over which the extradition partner has jurisdiction.


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