Select Committee on European Communities Fourteenth Report


APPENDIX 5 (continued)

Convention Drawn up on the Basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union, on Mutual Assistance and Co-operation between Customs Administrations

TITLE II

ASSISTANCE ON REQUEST

Article 8

PRINCIPLES

  1. In order to provide the assistance required under this Title, the requested authority or the competent authority which it has addressed shall proceed as though it were acting on its own account or at the request of another authority in its own Member State. In so doing it shall avail itself of all the legal powers at its disposal within the framework of its national law in order to respond to the request.

  2. The requested authority shall extend this assistance to all circumstances of the infringement which have any recognisable bearing on the subject of the request for assistance without this requiring any additional request. In case of doubt, the requested authority shall firstly contact the applicant authority.

Article 9

FORM AND CONTENT OF THE REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE

  1. Requests for assistance shall always be made in writing. Documents necessary for the execution of such requests shall accompany the request.

  2. Requests pursuant to paragraph 1 shall include the following information:

    (a)   the applicant authority making the request;

    (b)   the measure requested;

    (c)   the object of, and the reason for, the request;

    (d)   the laws, rules and other legal provisions involved;

    (e)   indications as exact and comprehensive as possible on the natural or legal persons being the target of the investigations;

    (f)   a summary of the relevant facts, except in cases provided for in Article 13.

  3. Requests shall be submitted in an official language of the Member State of the requested authority or in a language acceptable to such authority.

  4. When required because of the urgency of the situation, oral requests shall be accepted, but must be confirmed in writing as soon as possible.

  5. If a request does not meet the formal requirements, the requested authority may ask for it to be corrected or completed; measures necessary to comply with the request may be commenced in the meantime.

  6. The requested authority shall agree to apply a particular procedure in response to a request, provided that that procedure is not in conflict with the legal and administrative provisions of the requested Member State.

Article 10

REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION

  1. At the request of the applicant authority, the requested authority shall communicate to it all information which may enable it to prevent, detect and prosecute infringements.

  2. The information communicated is to be accompanied by reports and other documents, or certified copies or extracts of the same, on which that information is based and which are in possession of the requested authority or which were produced or obtained in order to execute the request for information.

  3. By agreement between the applicant authority and the requested authority, officers authorised by the applicant authority may, subject to detailed instructions from the requested authority, obtain information pursuant to paragraph 1 from the offices of the requested Member State. This shall apply to all information derived from the documentation to which the staff of those offices have access. Those officers shall be authorised to take copies of the said documentation.

Article 11

REQUESTS FOR SURVEILLANCE

  At the request of the applicant authority, the requested authority shall as far as possible keep a special watch or arrange for a special watch to be kept on persons where there are serious grounds for believing that they have infringed Community or national customs provisions or that they are committing or have carried out preparatory acts with a view to the commission of such infringements. At the request of the applicant authority, the requested authority shall also keep a watch on places, means of transport and goods connected with activities which might be in breach of the above mentioned customs provisions.

Article 12

REQUESTS FOR ENQUIRIES

  1. The requested authority shall at the request of the applicant authority carry out, or arrange to have carried out, appropriate enquiries concerning operations which constitute, or appear to the applicant authority to constitute, infringements.

  The requested authority shall communicate the results of such enquiries to the applicant authority. Article 10(2) shall apply mutatis mutandis.

  2. By agreement between the applicant authority and the requested authority, officers appointed by the applicant authority may be present at the enquiries referred to in paragraph 1. Enquiries shall at all times be carried out by officers of the requested authority. The applicant authority's officers may not, of their own initiative, assume the powers conferred on officers of the requested authority. They shall, however, have access to the same premises and the same documents as the latter, through their intermediary and for the sole purpose of the enquiry being carried out.

Article 13

NOTIFICATION

  1. At the request of the applicant authority, the requested authority shall, in accordance with the national rules of the Member State in which it is based, notify the addressee or have it notified of all instruments or decisions which emanate from the competent authorities of the Member State in which the requested authority is based and concern the application of this Convention.

  2. Requests for notification, mentioning the subject of the instrument or decision to be notified, shall be accompanied by a translation in the official language or an official language of the Member State in which the requested authority is based, without prejudice to the latter's right to waive such a translation.

Article 14

USE AS EVIDENCE

  Findings, certificates, information, documents, certified true copies and other papers obtained in accordance with their national law by officers of the requested authority and transmitted to the applicant authority in the cases of assistance provided for in Articles 10 to 12 may be used as evidence in accordance with national law by the competent bodies of the Member State where the applicant authority is based.

TITLE III

SPONTANEOUS ASSISTANCE

Article 15

PRINCIPLE

  The competent authorities of each Member State shall, as laid down in Articles 16 and 17, subject to any limitations imposed by national law, provide assistance to the competent authorities of the other Member States without prior request.

Article 16

SURVEILLANCE

  Where it serves the prevention, detection and prosecution of infringements in another Member State, each Member State's competent authorities shall:

    (a)   as far as is possible keep, or have kept, the special watch described in Article 11;

    (b)   communicate to the competent authorities of the other Member States concerned all information in their possession and, in particular, reports and other documents or certified true copies or extracts thereof, concerning operations which are connected with a planned or committed infringement.

Article 17

SPONTANEOUS INFORMATION

  The competent authorities of each Member State shall immediately send to the competent authorities of the other Member States concerned all relevant information concerning planned or committed infringements and, in particular, information concerning the goods involved and new ways and means of committing such infringements.

Article 18

USE AS EVIDENCE

  Surveillance reports and information obtained by officers of one Member State and communicated to another Member State in the course of the spontaneous assistance provided for in Articles 15 to 17 may be used in accordance with national law as evidence by the competent bodies of the Member State receiving the information.


 
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