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Dec. 3, 2021: New guidance published to ensure the smoother submission of requests for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters with Taiwan (R.O.C.)

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    With transnational crime on the rise, global criminal justice cooperation has become even more critical in this age. As a committed partner to jointly maintain regional order, Taiwan (R.O.C) is willing and able to make even more significant contributions to the international community on criminal justice.

    In recent years, Taiwan has assisted nearly 300 requests on mutual legal assistance (MLA) in criminal matters, with almost 70 percent of cases completed, ranging from fraud, drug trafficking, homicide to cyber-related crimes, collaborated with 34 countries around the world, and received positive feedback from the foreign law enforcement and judicial authorities, demonstrating Taiwan’s willingness and capability to cooperate with international criminal justice networks to advance regional and global security.

    To facilitate MLA requests from foreign countries in criminal matters, the Ministry of Justice published “Requesting Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters from the Republic of China (Taiwan)-A Guide to MLA” in November 2021 according to the domestic laws, drawing on the experience in assisting requests with foreign counterparts and taking into account the best practices from many countries and international organizations.

    This guidance contains recommendations as well as descriptions for requesting mutual legal assistance in criminal matters from Taiwan. It is intended to assist foreign authorities in clearly understanding the requirements and procedures in a step-by-step manner and to ensure the smoother submission of every MLA request. For those who wish to make an MLA request to Taiwan, this guidance recommends:

Step 1: identify the mechanism used to seek assistance

Step2: indicate the authority conducting the investigation/prosecution/adjudication

Step 3: state the purpose of the request

Step 4: summarize the pertinent fact

Step 5: set out the applicable legal provisions

Step 6: identify the assistance being sought

Step 7: highlight any specific confidentiality requirements

Step 8: translate the request

Step 9: make sure to rule out the following circumstances and provide required assurances or undertaking

Step 10: set a time frame for execution if urgent or necessary

    Foreign competent authorities are also strongly encouraged to have advance consultation with the central authority of Taiwan (R.O.C.) before raising formal requests. More information about the guide can be found with the following link:

https://www.moj.gov.tw/media/21387/a-guide-to-mla-taiwan.pdf?mediaDL=true

    The Ministry of Justice believes that justice should transcend regional, ethnic and political differences. In line with shared values and ideals, Taiwan wishes to further contribute to the global initiatives that help create a safer world.

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