Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1990 c. 5


Criminal Justice(International Co-operation)Act 1990

1990 CHAPTER 5

An Act to enable the United Kingdom to co-operate with other countries in criminal proceedings and investigations; to enable the United Kingdom to join with other countries in implementing the Vienna Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances; and to provide for the seizure, detention and forfeiture of drug trafficking money imported or exported in cash.

[5th April 1990]

B e it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Criminal Proceedings and Investigations

Part I

Criminal Proceedings and Investigations

Mutual service of process

Mutual service of process

S-1 Service of overseas process in United Kingdom.

1 Service of overseas process in United Kingdom.

(1) This section has effect where the Secretary of State receives from the government of, or other authority in, a country or territory outside the United Kingdom—

(a) a summons or other process requiring a person to appear as defendant or attend as a witness in criminal proceedings in that country or territory; or

(b) a document issued by a court exercising criminal jurisdiction in that country or territory and recording a decision of the court made in the exercise of that jurisdiction,

together with a request for it to be served on a person in the United Kingdom.

(2) The Secretary of State or, where the person to be served is in Scotland, the Lord Advocate may cause the process or document to be served by post or, if the request is for personal service, direct the chief officer of police for the area in which that person appears to be to cause it to be personally served on him.

(3) Service by virtue of this section of any such process as is mentioned in subsection (1)(a) above shall not impose any obligation under the law of any part of the United Kingdom to comply with it.

(4) Any such process served by virtue of this section shall be accompanied by a notice—

(a) stating the effect of subsection (3) above;

(b) indicating that the person on whom it is served may wish to seek advice as to the possible consequences of his failing to comply with the process under the law of the country or territory where it was issued; and

(c) indicating that under that law he may not, as a witness, be accorded the same rights and privileges as would be accorded to him in criminal proceedings in the United Kingdom.

(5) Where a chief officer of police is directed under this section to cause any process or document to be served he shall after it has been served forthwith inform the Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the Lord Advocate when and how it was served and (if possible) furnish him with a receipt signed by the person on whom it was served; and if the chief officer has been unable to cause the process or document to be served he shall forthwith inform the Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the Lord Advocate of that fact and of the reason.

(6) In the application of this section to Northern Ireland for references to a chief officer of police there shall be substituted references to the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

S-2 Service of United Kingdom process overseas.

2 Service of United Kingdom process overseas.

(1) Process of the following descriptions, that is to say—

(a) a summons requiring a person charged with an offence to appear before a court in the United Kingdom; and

(b) a summons or order requiring a person to attend before a court in the United Kingdom for the purpose of giving evidence in criminal proceedings,

may be issued or made notwithstanding that the person in question is outside the United Kingdom and may be served outside the United Kingdom in accordance with arrangements made by the Secretary of State.

(2) In relation to Scotland subsection (1) above applies to any document which may competently be served on any accused person or on any person who may give evidence in criminal proceedings.

(3) Service of any process outside the United Kingdom by virtue of this section shall not impose any obligation under the law of any part of the United Kingdom to comply with it and accordingly failure to do so shall not constitute contempt of any court or be a ground for issuing a warrant to secure the attendance of the person in question or, in Scotland, for imposing any penalty.

(4) Subsection (3) above is without prejudice to the service of any process (with the usual consequences for non-compliance) on the person in question if subsequently effected in the United Kingdom.

Mutual provision of evidence

Mutual provision of evidence

S-3 Overseas evidence for use in United Kingdom.

3 Overseas evidence for use in United Kingdom.

(1) Where on an application made in accordance with subsection (2) below it appears to a justice of the peace or a judge or, in Scotland, to a sheriff or a judge—

(a) that an offence has been committed or that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that an offence has been committed; and

(b) that proceedings in respect of the offence have been instituted or that the offence is being investigated,

he may issue a letter (‘a letter of request’) requesting assistance in obtaining outside the United Kingdom such evidence as is specified in the letter for use in the proceedings or investigation.

(2) An application under subsection (1) above may be made by a prosecuting authority or, if proceedings have been instituted, by the person charged in those proceedings.

(3) A prosecuting authority which is for the time being designated for the purposes of this section by an order made by the Secretary of State by statutory instrument may itself issue a letter of request if—

(a) it is satisfied as to the matters mentioned in subsection (1)(a) above; and

(b) the offence in question is being investigated or the authority has instituted proceedings in respect of it.

(4) Subject to subsection (5) below, a letter of request shall be sent to the Secretary of State for transmission either—

(a) to a court or tribunal specified in the letter and exercising jurisdiction in the place where the evidence is to be obtained; or

(b) to any authority recognised by the government of the country or territory in question as the appropriate authority for receiving requests for assistance of the kind to which this section applies.

(5) In cases of urgency a letter of request may be sent direct to such a court or tribunal as is mentioned in subsection (4)(a) above.

(6) In this section ‘evidence’ includes documents and other articles.

(7) Evidence obtained by virtue of a letter of request shall not without the consent of such an authority as is mentioned in subsection (4)(b) above be used for any purpose other than that specified in the letter; and when any document or other article obtained pursuant to a letter of request is no longer required for that purpose (or for any other purpose for which such consent has been obtained), it shall be returned to such an authority unless that authority indicates that the document or article need not be returned.

(8) In exercising the discretion conferred by section 25 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (exclusion of evidence otherwise admissible) in relation to a statement contained in evidence taken pursuant to a letter of request the court shall have regard—

(a) to whether it was possible to challenge the statement by questioning the person who made it; and

(b) if proceedings have been instituted, to whether the local law allowed the parties to the proceedings to be legally represented when the evidence was being taken.

(9) In Scotland evidence obtained by virtue of a letter of request shall, without being sworn to by witnesses, be received in evidence in so far as that can be done without unfairness to either party.

(10) In the application of this section to Northern Ireland for the reference in subsection (1) to a justice of the peace there shall be substituted a reference to a resident magistrate and for the reference in subsection (8) to section 25 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 there shall be substituted a reference to Article 5 of the Criminal Justice (Evidence, Etc.)(Northern Ireland) Order 1988 .

S-4 United Kingdom evidence for use overseas.

4 United Kingdom evidence for use overseas.

(1) This section has effect where the Secretary of State receives—

(a) from a court or tribunal exercising criminal jurisdiction in a country or territory outside the United Kingdom or a prosecuting authority in such a country or territory; or

(b) from any other authority in such a country or territory which appears to him to have the function of making requests of the kind to which this section applies,

a request for assistance in obtaining evidence in the United Kingdom in connection with criminal proceedings that have been instituted, or a criminal investigation that is being carried on, in that country or territory.

(2) If the Secretary of State or, if the evidence is to be obtained in Scotland, the Lord Advocate is satisfied—

(a) that an offence under the law of the...

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