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White & Case has been given leave to appeal the ongoing extradition saga of businessman Ian Norris to the House of Lords.
The Norris case, it is understood, will the be first proceeding of its kind to go to the House of Lords under the new extradition regime.
Almost six months ago White & Case lost its legal challenge to avoid extradition to the US for retired businessman Norris on charges of price-fixing and obstructing justice.
In March, however, Lord Justice Auld and Mr Justice Field in the High Court certified five questions that White & Case says is integral to Norris’ case. It is these questions which the House of Lords will hear in the appeal.
The issues that the House of Lords will determine include whether price fixing is indictable under the banner of conspiracy to defraud and, if so, whether it matches the US offence of price fixing and satisfies the requirements of the Extradition Act 2003.
The Lords will also decide whether obstruction of or interference with US administrative, investigative or judicial authorities is an extradition offence under the Extradition Act 2003 and if the passage of time is a bar to Norris’ extradition, considering the US authorities have disclosed no evidence.
If the case in the House of Lords fails Norris, who has prostate cancer, to be sent to faces charges that he was involved in fixing the price of carbon products between 1989 and 2000, charges he denies.
White & Case partner Alistair Graham, who is acting for Norris, said that the decision to grant the appeal vindicates the firm’s view that the fundamental issues the case raises needed to be heard by the UK’s highest court.
“Nobody in the UK has ever been prosecuted for price fixing under the banner of conspiracy to defraud, for what we still believe are very sound legal reasons,” explained Graham. “Any decision in this matter has significant ramifications for large numbers of UK businessmen and women, who will be potentially exposed to price fixing charges in relation to the period prior to 2002.”
Graham instructed Richard Gordon QC and Martin Chamberlain, both of Brick Court chambers for Norris.
David Perry QC and Miss Adina Ezekiel of 6 King’s Bench Walk acted for the US Government, while Khawar Qureshi QC of Serle Court represented the Home Office.