Relationship to other conventions on mutual assistance
1. The purpose of this Convention is to supplement
the provisions and facilitate the application between the Member
States of the European Union, of:
(a) the European Convention on Mutual Assistance
in Criminal Matters of 20 April 1959, hereinafter referred to
as the "European Mutual Assistance Convention";
(b) the Additional Protocol of 17 March 1978
to the European Mutual Assistance Convention;
(c) the provisions on mutual assistance in
criminal matters of the Convention of 19 June 1990 implementing
the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 on the gradual abolition
of checks at common borders (hereinafter referred to as the "Schengen
Implementation Convention") which are not repealed pursuant
to Article 2(2);
(d) Chapter 2 of the Treaty on Extradition
and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Kingdom
of Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Kingdom of the
Netherlands of 27 June 1962, as amended by the Protocol of 11
May 1974 (hereinafter referred to as the "Benelux Treaty"),
in the context of relations between the Member States of the Benelux
2. This Convention shall not affect the
application of more favourable provisions in bilateral or multilateral
agreements between Member States or, as provided for in Article
26(4) of the European Mutual Assistance Convention, arrangements
in the field of mutual assistance in criminal matters agreed on
the basis of uniform legislation or of a special system providing
for the reciprocal application of measures of mutual assistance
in their respective territories.
Provisions relating to the Schengen acquis
1. The provisions of Articles 3, 5, 6, 7, 12
and 23 and, to the extent relevant to Article 12, of Articles
15 and 16, to the extent relevant to the Articles referred to,
of Article 1 constitute measures amending or building upon the
provisions referred to in Annex A to the Agreement concluded by
the Council of the European Union and the Republic of Iceland
and the Kingdom of Norway concerning the latters' association
with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen
2. The provisions of Articles 49(a), 52,
53 and 73 of the Schengen Implementation Convention are hereby
Proceedings in connection with which mutual assistance
is also to be afforded
1. Mutual assistance shall also be afforded in
proceedings brought by the administrative authorities in respect
of acts which are punishable under the national law of the requesting
or the requested Member State, or both, by virtue of being infringements
of the rules of law, and where the decision may give rise to proceedings
before a court having jurisdiction in particular in criminal matters.
2. Mutual assistance shall also be afforded
in connection with criminal proceedings and proceedings as referred
to in paragraph 1 which relate to offences or infringements for
which a legal person may be held liable in the requesting Member
Formalities and procedures in the execution of
requests for mutual assistance
1. Where mutual assistance is afforded, the requested
Member State shall comply with the formalities and procedures
expressly indicated by the requesting Member State, unless otherwise
provided in this Convention and provided that such formalities
and procedures are not contrary to the fundamental principles
of law in the requested Member State.
2. The requested Member State shall execute
the request for assistance as soon as possible, taking as full
account as possible of the procedural deadlines and other deadlines
indicated by the requesting Member State. The requesting Member
State shall explain the reasons for the deadline.
3. If the request cannot, or cannot fully,
be executed in accordance with the requirements set by the requesting
Member State, the authorities of the requested Member State shall
promptly inform the authorities of the requesting Member State
and indicate the conditions under which it might be possible to
execute the request. The authorities of the requesting and the
requested Member State may subsequently agree on further action
to be taken concerning the request, where necessary by making
such action subject to the fulfilment of those conditions.
4. If it is foreseeable that the deadline
set by the requesting Member State for executing its request cannot
be met, and if the reasons referred to in paragraph 2, second
sentence, indicate explicitly that any delay will lead to substantial
impairment of the proceedings being conducted in the requesting
Member State, the authorities of the requested Member State shall
promptly indicate the estimated time needed for execution of the
request. The authorities of the requesting Member State shall
promptly indicate whether the request is to be upheld nonetheless.
The authorities of the requesting and requested Member States
may subsequently agree on further action to be taken concerning
Sending and service of procedural documents
1. Each Member State shall send procedural documents
intended for persons who are in the territory of another Member
State to them directly by post.
2. Procedural documents may be sent via
the competent authorities of the requested Member State only if:
(a) the address of the person for whom the
document is intended is unknown or uncertain; or
(b) the relevant procedural law of the requesting
Member State requires proof of service of the document on the
addressee, other than proof that can be obtained by post; or
(c) it has not been possible to serve the
document by post; or
(d) the requesting Member State has justified
reasons for considering that dispatch by post will be ineffective
or is inappropriate.
3. Where there is reason to believe that
the addressee does not understand the language in which the document
is drawn up, the document, or at least the important passages
thereof, must be translated into (one of) the language(s) of the
Member State in the territory of which the addressee is staying.
If the authority by which the procedural document was issued knows
that the addressee understands only some other language, the document,
or at least the important passages thereof, must be translated
into that other language.
4. All procedural documents shall be accompanied
by a report stating that the addressee may obtain information
from the authority by which the document was issued or from other
authorities in that Member State regarding his or her rights and
obligations concerning the document. Paragraph 3 shall also apply
to that report.
5. This Article shall not affect the application
of Articles 8, 9 and 12 of the European Mutual Assistance Convention
and Articles 32, 34 and 35 of the Benelux Treaty.
Transmission of requests for mutual assistance
1. Requests for mutual assistance and spontaneous
exchanges of information referred to in Article 7 shall be made
in writing, or by any means capable of producing a written record
under conditions allowing the receiving Member State to establish
authenticity. Such requests shall be made directly between judicial
authorities with territorial competence for initiating and executing
them, and shall be returned through the same channels unless otherwise
specified in this Article.
Any information laid by a Member State with
a view to proceedings before the courts of another Member State
within the meaning of Article 21 of the European Mutual Assistance
Convention and Article 42 of the Benelux Treaty may be the subject
of direct communications between the competent judicial authorities.
2. Paragraph 1 shall not prejudice the possibility
of requests being sent or returned in specific cases:
(a) between a central authority of a Member
State and a central authority of another Member State; or
(b) between a judicial authority of one Member
State and a central authority of another Member State.
3. Notwithstanding paragraph 1, the United
Kingdom and Ireland, respectively, may, when giving the notification
provided for in Article 27(2), declare that requests and communications
to it, as specified in the declaration, must be sent via its central
authority. These Member States may at any time by a further declaration
limit the scope of such a declaration for the purpose of giving
greater effect to paragraph 1. They shall do so when the provisions
on mutual assistance of the Schengen Implementation Convention
are put into effect for them.
Any Member State may apply the principle of
reciprocity in relation to the declarations referred to above.
4. Any request for mutual assistance may,
in case of urgency, be made via the International Criminal Police
Organisation (Interpol) or any body competent under provisions
adopted pursuant to the Treaty on European Union.
5. Where, in respect of requests pursuant
to Articles 12, 13 or 14, the competent authority is a judicial
authority or a central authority in one Member State and a police
or customs authority in the other Member State, requests may be
made and answered directly between these authorities. Paragraph
4 shall apply to these contacts.
6. Where in respect of requests for mutual
assistance in relation to proceedings as envisaged in Article
3(1), the competent authority is a judicial authority or a central
authority in one Member State and an administrative authority
in the other Member State, requests may be made and answered directly
between these authorities.
7. Any Member State may declare, when giving
the notification provided for in Article 27(2), that it is not
bound by the first sentence of paragraph 5 or by paragraph 6 of
this Article, or both or that it will apply those provisions only
under certain conditions which it shall specify. Such a declaration
may be withdrawn or amended at any time.
8. The following requests or communications
shall be made through the central authorities of the Member States:
(a) requests for temporary transfer or transit
of persons held in custody as referred to in Article 9 of this
Convention, in Article 11 of the European Mutual Assistance Convention
and in Article 33 of the Benelux Treaty;
(b) notices of information from judicial
records as referred to in Article 22 of the European Mutual Assistance
Convention and Article 43 of the Benelux Treaty. However, requests
for copies of convictions and measures as referred to in Article
4 of the Additional Protocol to the European Mutual Assistance
Convention may be made directly to the competent authorities.
Spontaneous exchange of information
1. Within the limits of their national law, the
competent authorities of the Member States may exchange information,
without a request to that effect, relating to criminal offences
and the infringements of rules of law referred to in Article 3(1),
the punishment or handling of which falls within the competence
of the receiving authority at the time the information is provided.
2. The providing authority may, pursuant
to its national law, impose conditions on the use of such information
by the receiving authority.
3. The receiving authority shall be bound
by those conditions.
25 OJ L176, 10 July 1999, p 36. Back