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Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003

Section 7: Requests for assistance in obtaining evidence abroad

36.Sections 7 to 9 deal with requests to obtain evidence from abroad in relation to a prosecution or investigation taking place in the UK. These provisions develop and expand on section 3 of the 1990 Act, which they replace.

37.Section 7 sets out the authorities which may make requests for assistance, in which circumstances, and the form in which requests may be made. The judicial authorities which may request assistance under this section, (provided it appears that an offence has been committed or there are reasonable grounds for suspecting this, and proceedings or an investigation are underway), are any judge, and a justice of the peace (in England and Wales), a sheriff (in Scotland) and a resident magistrate (in Northern Ireland). A prosecuting authority which has been designated by an order made by the Secretary of State - (or, in Scotland, the Lord Advocate or a procurator fiscal) - may also request assistance if the conditions set out in subsection (5) are satisfied. This arrangement is not new: designated prosecuting authorities were able to issue requests under the 1990 Act. The assistance which may be requested is to obtain evidence located outside the UK for use in a domestic criminal proceeding or investigation.

38.Subsection (7) requires that any outgoing requests for information about banking transactions made to participating countries under Article 2 of the 2001 Protocol must clearly state the relevance of the evidence to the investigation. This is in line with the conditions set out in the 2001 Protocol.

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