Grounds for refusing assistance by the requested authority

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Grounds for refusing assistance by the requested authority
  • Discretion to provide assistance to an overseas authority
  • Grounds for refusal of assistance
  • Refusing assistance in proceedings in which an individual might face the death penalty
  • Data protection considerations

Grounds for refusing assistance by the requested authority

The Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003 (C(IC)A 2003) is the UK’s main domestic legislation for mutual legal assistance (MLA) and provides the framework for making and giving effect to MLA requests. It prescribes the mechanisms by which UK law enforcement authorities can both obtain and provide evidence or assistance in criminal investigations and proceedings. For detailed guidance on the forms of assistance available under this and other related legislation, consult Practice Notes: Mutual legal assistance (MLA) and Mutual legal assistance—forms of assistance.

Discretion to provide assistance to an overseas authority

Where a request for MLA is received in the UK from an overseas authority, the Secretary of State may:

  1. arrange for evidence to be obtained, subject to various conditions having been met

  2. direct a search warrant is applied for

  3. direct that an application be made for a production order (despite the absence of explicit wording in C(IC)A 2003, s 13(1)(b) to this effect)

In practice, the UK Central Authority (UKCA) receives and considers incoming letters of request (LORs) and decides whether to accede to the requests. Thereafter, the UKCA will forward the request to the appropriate law enforcement agency and, where the request requires an application for an order be made, direct that agency to apply to the court for that order. However, it is a matter for the law enforcement agency in

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