Australia’s Bilateral Mutual Assistance & Extradition Relationships

Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) is the formal process of sharing evidence about criminal investigations or prosecutions between countries.

Many countries rely on Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) to govern the MLA process. An MLAT is an agreement between states outlining the terms for managing cross-jurisdictional requests for evidence.

A recent report commissioned by the Global Network Initiative, Data Beyond Borders: Mutual Legal Assistance in the Internet Age recommends that there should be an MLAT specific to each unique state-to-state relationship.

 

With which countries does Australia have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty?

Australia has bilateral Mutual Assistance relationships with the following countries:

ArgentinaIndiaPhilippines
AustriaIndonesiaPortugal
CanadaIsraelSpain
ChinaItalySweden
EcuadorRepublic of KoreaSwitzerland
FinlandLuxembourgThailand
FranceMalaysiaUnited Arab Emirates
GreeceMexicoUnited Kingdom
Hong KongMonacoUnited States of America
HungaryNetherlandsVietnam

 

Can Australia engage in Mutual Assistance with another country where no treaty exists?

States can elect to provide MLA without a treaty, however MLATs are the best way to outline a streamlined process. The MLA process in general has been criticised as being inefficient and in need of reform, with the time taken to process a request being measured in months and in some cases years. The lack of an MLAT can add to this problem, magnifying uncertainty around how to deal with government requests for data across jurisdictions.

 

Further reading: Australia’s Bilateral Extradition Relationships

Nyman Gibson Miralis specialise in all aspects of extradition and mutual legal assistance (MLA) law, and have expertise in complex transnational investigations. Contact us if you require assistance.