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Review of Extradition And Mutual Assistance

Law Commission Announces Review of Extradition And Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters

The law relating to New Zealand’s cooperation with other countries for the investigation and prosecution of crime is to be reviewed by the Law Commission.

The framework for New Zealand’s formal international cooperation in criminal matters is currently governed by the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992 and the Extradition Act 1999, as well as numerous bilateral and multilateral treaties. The Law Commission has commenced a reference, which will assess whether these two statutes are fit for purpose and whether the current structure of the scheme can be improved upon.

President of the Law Commission, Sir Grant Hammond, says this is an area of law that has been the subject of much change and international attention in recent decades with the continued development of transnational crime, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism and corruption.

“The risks posed by crime reach across borders due to the factors of globalisation, technological change, and increasing international travel and cooperation between countries. It is part of New Zealand’s role as a good international citizen to ensure its framework for international cooperation in criminal matters is effective.”

The Commission will consider whether the processes within these frameworks are efficient and effective, while also meeting essential human rights and procedural safeguards.

“Extradition and mutual assistance law must contain proper safeguards to uphold and protect the human rights of those being investigated or prosecuted,” says Sir Grant.

The review will be a first principles review. The review’s objective is to improve and modernise New Zealand’s framework for cooperating with other countries in criminal matters.

“The public and other interested parties will have the opportunity to express their views on the important issues in this review when the Commission publishes an issues paper later in the year,” says Sir Grant.

The Commission is conducting a comprehensive review involving analysis of a variety of complex issues. It intends to publish its report on the reference in 2015.


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