Mutual Legal Assistance
In 1997, Fiji enacted the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the domestic legislation that facilitates the provision of assistance to law enforcement and judicial authorities abroad. The Act has been further strengthened by amendments that were made in 2005. It can be applied where requests are made under bilateral treaties or Exchange of Notes, multi-lateral conventions, and other special international arrangements.
The amendment to section 5 of the Act has had the effect that the Act will apply even if there is no reciprocal arrangement or agreement with the requesting country. In practice, this would mean that the Attorney -General may agree to facilitate any request for international assistance, and not seek reciprocal undertakings.
The Attorney-General is the appropriate authority duly authorized to make and receive requests for international assistance. It is not necessary to send requests through diplomatic or consular channels. They may be sent directly to:
The Attorney General and Minister for Justice
Attorney General’s Chambers
In practice, it is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who verifies compliance and implements all requests. Foreign authorities may seek the advice of the DPP, and draft requests can be forwarded to him for comment, to ensure that they comply with Fiji statutory requirements and delays are avoided. This also ensures that all Mutual Legal Assistance requests, including requests in relation to money laundering and terrorist financing, are processed and executed without delay in a timely manner including the prioritisation of requests.
The Director of Public Prosecutions may be contacted at:
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
Level 2, Gunu House
25 Gladstone Road
Telephone : (679) 3211 270
Facsimile : (679) 3302 780
P.O Box 2355
Requirements of the request:
Any international request for international assistance shall be made in accordance with section 9(2) of the Act, and include the following:
- the name of the central authority;
- summary of the relevant facts and statement of the relevant laws;
- purpose of the request and nature of assistance sought;
- other useful information, and
- to facilitate the expeditious implementation of international requests, a request to Fiji may adopt the approved exemplar.