Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. I wish to thank Robert Cryer, Jamie Glister, Bob Sullivan and Colin Warbrick, as well as the anonymous referees, for their helpful comments on previous drafts. I also wish to acknowledge Eleanor Doyle-Marwick for her research assistance. All errors remain my own. This article was prepared with the assistance of the Law Society of New South Wales Legal Scholarship Support Fund.
Arresting Developments? Restricting the Enforcement of the UK's Universal Jurisdiction Provisions
Article first published online: 3 MAY 2012
© 2012 The Author. The Modern Law Review © 2012 The Modern Law Review Limited
The Modern Law Review
Volume 75, Issue 3, pages 368–386, May 2012
How to Cite
Williams, S. (2012), Arresting Developments? Restricting the Enforcement of the UK's Universal Jurisdiction Provisions. The Modern Law Review, 75: 368–386. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2230.2012.00905.x
- Issue published online: 3 MAY 2012
- Article first published online: 3 MAY 2012
- United Kingdom;
- universal jurisdiction;
- arrest warrant;
- Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act;
- private prosecution
Recently introduced legislative amendments limit the issue of arrest warrants on the application of a private prosecutor where jurisdiction is based on universal jurisdiction. The amendments addressed a ‘loophole’ in English law whereby a private prosecutor could seek and be granted an arrest warrant, generally in respect of an individual on a short term visit to the UK, even though the consent of the Attorney General would be required for the prosecution to continue. This article argues that these amendments addressed legitimate evidentiary and diplomatic relations concerns, are consistent with the UK's international obligations, and are in line with the UK's policy on the exercise of universal jurisdiction and with international trends. However, given the limited category of persons who were subject to such arrest warrants under the previous law and the practice of the UK concerning special missions, the amendments may be of limited practical significance.