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Extradition

Australia needs to ensure that criminals cannot evade justice simply by crossing borders. This requires an effective extradition regime that includes appropriate safeguards.

Extradition is a process by which one country apprehends and sends a person to another country for the purposes of criminal prosecution or to serve a prison sentence. Australia's extradition regime is governed by the Extradition Act 1988.

The Attorney-General's Department is Australia's central authority for international extradition matters. Interstate extradition is governed by the Service and Execution of Process Act 1992.

Fact sheets and flowcharts

More information about the process of incoming and outgoing extradition requests, and provisional arrest requests are detailed in the following fact sheets and flowcharts:

International extradition

Australia has extradition relationships with other countries to ensure the effective administration of criminal justice in this country.

We cooperate with partner countries to combat crime and prevent Australia from becoming a refuge and safe haven for persons accused or convicted of serious crimes in other countries.

For example, extradition is used if a person commits an offence, such as murder, in Australia and flees to the United States of America (USA) before they are prosecuted. In that case, Australia can make a request to the USA for the arrest and extradition of the person in the USA. He or she can then be returned to Australia to face prosecution for the offence of murder.

The Extradition Act 1988 sets out a number of requirements that must be met before Australia can make or accept an extradition request. Those requirements may be supplemented by requirements contained in a multilateral or bilateral treaty.

Urgent provisional arrest requests

If a matter is urgent, for example, when it is believed that a fugitive may flee the jurisdiction, a country can seek the provisional arrest of the fugitive through Interpol channels or directly between the central authorities of the relevant countries.

Extradition process with New Zealand

Extradition between Australia and New Zealand is governed by a separate and distinct regime, known as the 'backing of warrants' system.

This scheme between Australia and New Zealand is administered by police forces and prosecuting authorities in Australia and New Zealand.

Extradition and deportation

Extradition and deportation are often confused. Extradition is the formal government-to-government process by which a foreign country sends a person to another country to face prosecution or to serve a sentence.

Extradition is only requested for serious criminal offences. Deportation is the removal of a person who does not have any lawful right to enter and/or stay in a country.

For information about deportation visit the Department of Home Affairs website.