UK Overseas Production Orders set to become law

On 12 February 2019 the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Act 2019 received Royal Assent.  The Act will allow UK law enforcement agencies to apply via a court order for the production of existing stored electronic information that is located or controlled outside the UK for use in the investigation and prosecution of indictable offences.  This marks a shift from the previous practice of applying through mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests and is intended to speed up what has long been criticised as an unusually lengthy process of requesting data from abroad.  The court may only grant orders where a designated international co-operation arrangement exists and permits such a transfer.  The UK and the US are currently negotiating an international cooperation agreement which Parliament has stated will be a “framework for other reciprocal treaties all around the world.”  The UK government has not yet announced when the Act will come into force.
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