Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty

Understanding Cross Border Legal Assistance

The increasingly globalised and liberated world economy has created opportunities for economic growth as well as transnationalisation of crimes.

Economic liberalisation aided by technological advancements has contributed significantly to complex cross-border offences with actors and offences and its implications occurring in multiple jurisdictions as well as the offenders seeking refuge in foreign jurisdictions. Especially with increase in organised crime, trafficking of humans and drugs, smuggling, mutual legal assistance is an invaluable resource in investigating crimes and bringing criminals to justice.

As offences are no longer a mere domestic governance issue, it is imperative for governments to aid domestic law enforcement agencies through proper channels for ensuring inter-jurisdictional assistance among nation states by entering into agreements providing for legal assistance or a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty “MLAT”. Mutual legal assistance may also be given informally through bilateral cooperation and sharing of information between policing or judicial officials in different states.
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