Overseas production orders
Overseas production orders

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

  • Overseas production orders
  • Introduction to overseas production orders
  • Background to the C(OPO)A 2019
  • What is an OPO?
  • Designated co-operation agreements under C(OPO)A 2019
  • Who can apply for an OPO?
  • The effect of an OPO
  • When can an OPO be made?
  • Procedure for OPO applications
  • Service of OPOs
  • More...

Introduction to overseas production orders

The Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Act 2019 (C(OPO)A 2019) received Royal Assent on 12 February 2019 and created overseas production orders (OPOs) which enable UK investigators to compel the disclosure of electronic data stored outside of the UK. OPOs provide an alternative means of obtaining electronic data to the often laborious Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) regime. See Practice Note: Mutual legal assistance (MLA).

OPOs remain in force post Brexit. This is because the operation of OPOs relies on international agreements and is not dependant on EU membership.

The substantive provisions of C(OPO)A 2019, s 1 came into force on 9 October 2019 pursuant to the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Act 2019 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/1318.

OPOs can only be granted where permitted under an international co-operation arrangement (or treaty) between the UK and the country where the subject of the order is located, see: Designated co-operation agreements under C(OPO)A 2019.

Procedural rules have been created providing the basis for making an application for an OPO in the UK, see: Procedure for OPO applications.

Background to the C(OPO)A 2019

Electronic data is increasingly important in the investigation of criminal offences as UK investigators routinely require access to electronic data held on computers, laptops, tablets and phones in order to ascertain whether offences have been committed. Many companies provide services which hold this data outside

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