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Criminal Cases Guidance

Volume 455: debated on Thursday 25 January 2007

On 1 November 2006, my right hon. Friend, Baroness Scotland, informed another place that the Attorney- General had opened discussions with the Attorney-General of the United States of America on jurisdictional issues in criminal cases.

I am pleased to inform the House that the Attorney-General, the Attorney-General of the US and the Lord Advocate of Scotland have agreed guidance for handling cross-border cases between the UK and US.

I believe the guidance will improve communication by facilitating the early sharing of case information and consultation between prosecutors in those jurisdictions. International cooperation in fighting transnational crime is essential. Further, this guidance should assist prosecutors to have the earliest notice of cases that could be of interest to them for possible investigation and prosecution in the UK. The guidance retains the UK prosecutor's powers to decide that a case should be tried in the UK when this is possible and in accordance with the law and public interest.

The guidance agreed between the UK and US is augmented by domestic guidance for prosecutors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The domestic guidance will enable my office to ensure that each of my prosecuting Departments is informed of cross-border cases in which it may have an interest.

Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library of the House.