Skip to main content

Grand Chamber to decide compatibility of extradition to face whole life sentences with Articles 3 and 6 in application to reopen Harkins v UK

Edward Fitzgerald QC and Ben Cooper act for Phillip Harkins in a hearing before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday morning. The case is exceptional as the European Court is reconsidering its previous judgment on Article 3, which demonstrates its constitutional importance.


The UK’s decision to extradite Mr Harkins to the United States and therefore to expose him to a mandatory whole life sentence without parole is under challenge. Mr Harkins contends that Florida’s system of mandatory whole life sentences violates Article 3 and Article 6 and to extradite him there would breach his Convention rights. It is also submitted that a sentence of life without parole would be grossly disproportionate for his alleged offence of felony murder committed at the age of 20.


Further details are available here.

Press coverage in The Guardian.


Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS
Venue: Doughty Street Chambers, 53-54 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LS