Basic information about requesting mutual legal assistance (MLA) from abroad.
Requests from the United Kingdom may be issued by judicial authorities and, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, designated prosecuting authorities. Judicial authorities may issue requests on behalf of the defence once proceedings have been instituted.
If you have any questions about making a request to the UK, visit that webpage. It is recommended that law enforcement agencies make any initial enquiries regarding outgoing requests to their prosecuting authority.
For EU/Schengen member states
MLA requests can be directly transmitted to the judicial or prosecuting authorities of EU/Schengen member states. The exceptions are:
- The Republic of Ireland does not accept direct transmission of requests for search warrants or restraint / confiscation orders
The following types of requests must be sent via the appropriate UK central authority, regardless of if a State accepts direct transmission:
- restraint and confiscation
- transfer of a prisoner to appear in court or assist an investigation
- account monitoring orders
- customer information orders
When sending direct, there are a number of ways of identifying the correct judicial authority for your request:
- look at the European Judicial Atlas at http://www.ejn-crimjust.europa.eu/ejn/EJN_AtlasAdvanced.aspx
- ask your European Judicial Network contact point for assistance (the CPS, SFO, PPSNI and the Crown Office all have contact points)
- prosecutors sending requests to Italy, France or Spain may make contact with the appropriate liaison magistrate based in that jurisdiction for guidance.
When sending direct, please quote the relevant agreement and ensure that you indicate clearly in your request that the evidence can also be returned directly.
You must send a notification or a copy of requests transmitted directly overseas to the UK Central Authority indicating that it has been sent directly.
All other countries
Requests to all other countries should be transmitted via the UK Central Authority until further notice.