CJEU - C 237/15 PPU / Judgment Minister for Justice and Equality v Francis Lanigan

Key facts of the case :

Request for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU from the High Court (Ireland), made by decision of 19 May 2015, received at the Court on 22 May 2015, in the proceedings.

Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:

the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

Articles 15(1) and 17 of Council Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States, as amended by Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA of 26 February 2009, must be interpreted as meaning that the executing judicial authority remains required to adopt the decision on the execution of the European arrest warrant after expiry of the time-limits stipulated in Article 17.

Article 12 of that Framework Decision, read in conjunction with Article 17 thereof and in the light of Article 6 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, must be interpreted as not precluding, in such a situation, the holding of the requested person in custody, in accordance with the law of the executing Member State, even if the total duration for which that person has been held in custody exceeds those time-limits, provided that that duration is not excessive in the light of the characteristics of the procedure followed in the case in the main proceedings, which is a matter to be ascertained by the national court. If the executing judicial authority decides to bring the requested person’s custody to an end, that authority is required to attach to the provisional release of that person any measures it deems necessary so as to prevent him from absconding and to ensure that the material conditions necessary for his effective surrender remain fulfilled for as long as no final decision on the execution of the European arrest warrant has been taken.

Paragraphs referring to EU Charter: 

 

55. Article 52(1) of the Charter accepts that limitations may be imposed on the exercise of rights such as those set forth in Article 6 of the Charter, as long as the limitations are provided for by law, respect the essence of those rights and freedoms and, subject to the principle of proportionality, are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the European Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others (see, to that effect, judgment in Volker und Markus Schecke and Eifert, C‑92/09 and C‑93/09, EU:C:2010:662, paragraph 50).

56. Moreover, according to Article 52(3) of the Charter, in so far as it contains rights which correspond to rights guaranteed by the ECHR, the meaning and scope of those rights are to be the same as those laid down by the Convention. Article 53 of the Charter further states that nothing in the Charter is to be interpreted as restricting or adversely affecting the rights recognised inter alia by the ECHR (judgment in Volker und Markus Schecke and Eifert, C‑92/09 and C‑93/09, EU:C:2010:662, paragraph 51).

57. According to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on Article 5(1)(f) of the ECHR on extradition procedures, only the conduct of such a procedure justifies the deprivation of a freedom based on that article and, consequently, if the procedure is not carried out with due diligence, the detention ceases to be justified (see, inter alia, Quinn v. France, 22 March 1995, § 48, Series A no. 311, and Gallardo Sanchez v. Italy, no. 11620/07, § 40, ECHR 2015).

58. Therefore, given that the issuing of a European arrest warrant cannot, as such, justify the holding of the requested person for a period the total duration of which exceeds the time necessary to execute that warrant, the executing judicial authority may decide to hold that person in custody, in accordance with Article 6 of the Charter, only in so far as the procedure for the execution of the European arrest warrant has been carried out in a sufficiently diligent manner and in so far as, consequently, the duration of the custody is not excessive.

59. In order to ensure that that is indeed the case, the executing judicial authority will be required to carry out a concrete review of the situation at issue, taking account of all of the relevant factors with a view to evaluating the justification for the duration of the procedure, including the possible failure to act on the part of the authorities of the Member States concerned and any contribution of the requested person to that duration. The sentence potentially faced by the requested person or delivered in his regard in relation to the acts which justified the issuing of the European arrest warrant in his respect, together with the potential risk of that person absconding, must also be taken into consideration.

60. Against that background, the fact that the requested person has been held in custody for a period the total of which greatly exceeds the time-limits stipulated in Article 17 of the Framework Decision is also relevant, in so far as those time-limits are, in principle, sufficient, in the light, inter alia, of the essential role of the principle of mutual recognition in the system put in place by the Framework Decision, for the executing judicial authority to carry out checks prior to the execution of the European arrest warrant and to adopt the decision on the execution of such a warrant.

61. In any event, if the executing judicial authority concludes, following the review referred to in paragraphs 58 to 60 above, that it is required to bring the requested person’s custody to an end, it is then required, pursuant to Articles 12 and 17(5) of the Framework Decision, to attach to the provisional release of that person any measures it deems necessary so as to prevent him from absconding and to ensure that the material conditions necessary for his effective surrender remain fulfilled for as long as no final decision on the execution of the European arrest warrant has been taken.

62. In the light of the foregoing, the questions referred are to be answered as follows: First, Articles 15(1) and 17 of the Framework Decision must be interpreted as meaning that the executing judicial authority remains required to adopt the decision on the execution of the European arrest warrant after expiry of the time-limits stipulated in Article 17.

63. Second, Article 12 of the Framework Decision, read in conjunction with Article 17 thereof and in the light of Article 6 of the Charter, must be interpreted as not precluding, in such a situation, the holding of the requested person in custody, in accordance with the law of the executing Member State, even if the total duration for which that person has been held in custody exceeds those time-limits, provided that that duration is not excessive in the light of the characteristics of the procedure followed in the case in the main proceedings, which is a matter to be ascertained by the national court. If the executing judicial authority decides to bring the requested person’s custody to an end, that authority is required to attach to the provisional release of that person any measures it deems necessary so as to prevent him from absconding and to ensure that the material conditions necessary for his effective surrender remain fulfilled for as long as no final decision on the execution of the European arrest warrant has been taken.