Autonomy's Mike Lynch gets yet another judgment date as US extradition wrangling continues

Brit exec plays extremely expensive game of hurry up and wait

Autonomy Trial Mike Lynch will have to wait a week to find out if he can have his extradition from the UK to America kicked into the long grass – while the High Court in England has set itself yet another deadline for its epically long judgment on the HP/Autonomy merger.

These were the only two substantial snippets to emerge from Tuesday's court hearing as Lynch sought to push back a deadline for UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to make a decision on his extradition case, as reported yesterday.

Mr Justice Swift, sitting in the Administrative Court for Tuesday's judicial review hearing on the extradition, said he would hand down judgment next week after listening to barristers Alex Bailin QC for Lynch and Mark Summers QC for the US government.

Bailin argued that Westminster Magistrates' Court had made an unlawful decision by refusing to extend the extradition decision deadline, taking away the Home Secretary's power to ponder upcoming relevant material. Summers said the lower court was bang on the money and justice (the extradition, in this case) had waited long enough to be done.

The practical effect of Tuesday's court hearing is to add a week of sitting and waiting. The US government appears to have lost patience with Lynch's pre-Christmas legal manoeuvrings and the High Court's Mr Justice Hildyard alike.

Uncle Sam wants to preempt the High Court's verdict, hauling Lynch off to America where he will face 17 criminal charges under that country's federal legal system. District Judge Snow, who made the Westminster Magistrates' Court decision to deny Lynch another time extension, appears to agree with the US about the ever-growing timeframe.

If Lynch wins the judicial review case before Swift, he will have until 14 March to lobby the British government into reading the mammoth Autonomy trial judgment in full and (so he hopes) block his extradition – assuming, that is, the judgment clears him of wrongdoing over the sale of the British software company to Hewlett Packard in 2011. If it doesn't, Lynch is in trouble.

Swift's fellow judge Mr Justice Hildyard, presiding over the £3.3bn Autonomy Trial at the High Court, has promised to deliver his 1,500 page decision in "two to three weeks", as Bailin told the court on Tuesday and was reported by Bloomberg. The lawyers will see a draft version this week, allegedly, with public hand-down following after typos and the like are corrected.

The judicial review, extradition case, High Court case and US criminal proceedings all continue. ®

Wordnote

On average, a High Court judgment has about 500 words per page. 1,500 pages would therefore make the Autonomy Trial judgment around 750,000 words long – dwarfing War and Peace, which is a mere 587,000 words. For literary prolixity, Mr Justice Hildyard seems likely to beat Ayn Rand (whose infamously badly-written libertarian novel Atlas Shrugged really doesn't need half of its 645,000 words) but may come a distinct second to Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu and its 1,267,069 mots à la français. ®

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