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Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003

Section 27: Exercise of powers by others

82.This section provides for certain functions conferred on the Secretary of State or on a constable to be conferred upon others. This is in recognition of the MLAC requirement for direct transmission of requests. Currently, the authorities which deal with many requests for assistance, such as HM Customs and Excise, do not have the power to nominate courts or to apply for warrants in order to execute mutual legal assistance requests, and have to rely on the Secretary of State to nominate a court or issue a direction to make an application for a warrant.

83.Therefore, this section contains an order‑making power to provide that certain functions conferred on the Secretary of State or a constable may be exercisable by customs officers or persons acting under their direction. The practical effect of this power is that it would enable requests to be sent directly to HM Customs and Excise and fully executed by them, without recourse to the Secretary of State, in circumstances where a court nomination or application for a warrant is required, and will implement the principle of direct transmission more fully.

84.Subsection (2) provides for the Secretary of State to confer similar powers on prescribed persons in the future. This could apply either to authorities that already execute requests, or be extended to other authorities that may take on a role in the execution of mutual legal assistance requests.

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