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Nowadays, all countries around the world are facing increasing threats of transnational crimes. The criminals using technology pose even more challenging problems for law enforcement. Encountering the globalization of crime, Taiwan has been working strenuously on offering and seeking efficient legal assistance with foreign countries or jurisdictions. Given the diplomatic relations, the Ministry of Justice(MOJ) adopt a policy aiming to establish a feasible mechanism for international and cross-strait judicial cooperation. So far, Taiwan has successfully exchanged mutual legal assistance(MLA) with more than 40 countries and jurisdictions.

Even before Taiwan enacted the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (hereinafter referred to as MLA Act) in May 2018, countries and jurisdictions overseas could already request Taiwan for legal assistance in criminal matters based on the principle of reciprocity.

The MLA Act on the one hand offers a broader scope of assistance available for foreign requesting parties, including service of documents, evidence gathering, search and seizure, restraint or freezing of assets, transfer of persons in custody for testimonial purposes, enforcement of foreign forfeiture/confiscation order or judgment, and other requested proceedings on criminal matters. On the other hand, with the MLA Act in place, the MOJ can provide more stable, clearer, and swifter legal assistance to our counterparts than before. In terms of efficiency, Taiwan has been able to assist by responding to an incoming MLA request at a processing time of 4.5 months on average, depending on the complexity of each case.

We are now making much effort to enhance processing various legal assistance requested by foreign partners. We believe more innovative measures that promote efficiency can be explored and articulated in a bilateral agreement or instruments alike. Such instruments can even cover closer coordination models in fighting cross-border crime, e.g., forming a joint investigation team.

We have been relatively responsive to various incoming mutual legal assistance requests. And we are expecting more cooperation from all over the world.

Any inquiries, consultations, or suggestions will be highly welcome. (contact email: mla-taiwan@mail.moj.gov.tw)

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