Mutual Legal Assistance
Any country may make a request to Ireland for legal assistance in criminal investigations or criminal proceedings.
The law that allows Ireland to provide mutual legal assistance to and to ask for mutual legal assistance from other countries is contained in the Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008.
The Act includes provisions that allow Ireland to:
- take evidence in connection with criminal investigations or proceedings in another country
- search for and seize material on behalf of another country
- provide mutual assistance in relation to revenue offences
- serve a summons or any other court process on a person in Ireland to appear as a defendant or as a witness in another country
- serve a document recording a court decision on a person in Ireland
- enforce, in Ireland, confiscation and forfeiture orders made in another country
- transfer a person imprisoned in Ireland to another country to give evidence in criminal proceedings there, to be identified there or to assist proceedings there.
Relevant international Conventions
Ireland is a party to the following international Conventions:
- The Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (1959) and its Additional Protocol
- United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988)
- The Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds of Crime (1990)
- The OECD Convention on combating bribery of Foreign Public Official in international business transactions (1997)
- The Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (2003)
Requests made outside the provisions of an international convention will be decided on an individual basis.
Who may make requests for mutual legal assistance?
Requests for mutual legal assistance must be made by a court or tribunal.
Any other authority in a country, such as Ministries, Departments of Justice, Attorneys General and public prosecutors, which can legally do so, may also make a request.
Assurances and Undertakings
When seeking evidence which is to be secured by way of either a search of a premises or a production order, a written assurance must be given that this evidence:
will not, without the Minister’s prior consent, be used for any purpose other than that permitted by the relevant international instrument or specified in the request
will be returned when no longer required for the purpose so specified or for which consent has been obtained unless the Minister indicates that it’s return is not required.
When seeking evidence which is to be taken from a witness or suspect on oath before a judge, a written assurance must be given that the evidence will not be used for any purpose other than that permitted by the relevant international instrument or specified in the request unless consent is obtained from the judge or witness in question.
Specific assurances are required for securing identification evidence which vary depending on the particular form of identification evidence sought, contact our office by e-mail if you have any queries regarding these assurances.
Additional assurance required by Ireland
Any Requesting Authority seeking evidence from Ireland must also provide a written assurance that any defendant in the request will be able to challenge any evidence provided by the Irish authorities if the material is to be used at their trial in the requesting state.
To progress your request the above assurances should be provided when making a request.
Delivery of requests
A request for mutual legal assistance may be sent directly to:
The Central Authority for Mutual Assistance
Department of Justice and Equality
51 St. Stephen's Green
The request may also be sent through diplomatic channels to the Central Authority.
Contact details for the Central Authority for Mutual Legal Assistance
|Phone:||+353 1 6028766|
|Fax:||+ 353 1 6028750|