International Judicial Assistance

International Judicial Assistance

International Judicial Assistance

International Judicial Assistance

Synopsis

Governments and international organizations have been quick to expand past civil law experience into a variety of responses--both diplomatic and institutional--to the new international crimes such as drug-trafficking and terrorism. Drawing on his involvement in work in The Hague, the author presents the first detailed study of this subject, examining such agreements as the Commonwealth Scheme for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, a vital part of the new expanding criminal law machinery throughout the world.

Excerpt

Writers of law books often bemoan the pace of legal change, but it has made the writing of this book an exhilarating, if sometimes a tantalizing, experience.

It was first planned in 1987, after I had acted as principal draftsman of the Commonwealth Scheme for Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and had been involved for a decade as the Commonwealth Secretariat's regular Observer of the work of the Hague Conference on Private International Law in the field of civil procedure. It seemed that the time was ripe for a study of the way in which the techniques of international judicial assistance in civil and commercial matters could usefully be extended to co-operation in criminal investigation and prosecutions.

The time was riper than I had realised. Governments were becoming uncomfortably aware of the need to respond urgently to drug trafficking and the international criminal enterprises so often financed by it. the traditional caution over co-operation between States in criminal law matters gave way to an eagerness for improved arrangements; international organizations, regional groupings of States, national legislatures, and specialist investigative and regulatory agencies gave a high priority to their development. As a result, pieces of legislation, agreements, and memoranda of understanding have been produced in quantity.

The first part of the book deals with assistance in civil and commercial matters, where there is a century and more of experience. the Hague Conference has been in the lead, and its work has been the subject of commentary and judicial analysis in many countries. I approach the material from an English perspective, but I have tried to give full weight to developments elsewhere; in this context decisions of the United States courts have been of particular significance.

The latter part of the book, dealing with assistance in criminal matters, has a rather different texture. the international instruments are almost all recent, breaking new ground, and there is limited experience of their actual operation. I have sought to explain the nature of the problems being addressed and to give an account of developing practice. the United Kingdom focus remains, but I have drawn fully on experience elsewhere, for example the valiant efforts of Australian draftsmen in tackling the confiscation of the proceeds of crime and the pioneering initiatives of the United States in the context of insider dealing and related issues.

Taken as a whole, international judicial assistance is a subject of rapidly growing importance. Lawyers and policy-makers are increasingly aware of . . .

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