Mutual Legal Assistance
The AGC is Singapore’s Central Authority for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. The AGC officers in the International Affairs Division handle and process all formal requests for assistance in accordance with the provisions of the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (the "Act") and any applicable Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT).
Types of assistance
The types of mutual legal assistance that Singapore may provide in respect of criminal matters include the following:
- taking of evidence
- obtaining a production order
- request for the attendance of a person in a foreign country to give evidence
- request for custody of persons in transit
- enforcement of a foreign confiscation order
- search and seizure
- locating or identifying persons
- service of process
Prescribed foreign countries
Countries with which Singapore has an existing MLAT are gazetted as “prescribed foreign countries” under the Act. Such countries may be rendered assistance in accordance with the terms of the Act and relevant MLAT.
Other countries may receive assistance if there is an undertaking of reciprocity in accordance with section 16(2) of the Act. This undertaking of reciprocity should provide that the requesting country will comply with a future request by Singapore for similar assistance in a criminal matter involving an offence that corresponds to the foreign offence for which assistance is sought.
Form for requests
Requests for assistance may be made using the sample forms below:
Countries that have signed and ratified the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters among Like-minded ASEAN Member Countries should make requests for mutual legal assistance to Singapore using the form provided on the website of the Secretariat for this Treaty.
Checklists and certificates
Countries may use the following checklists for a preliminary assessment of whether the mutual legal assistance request meets the legal requirements under the Act. Countries may wish to note that mutual legal assistance requests that meet all the legal requirements tend to be processed more expeditiously.
For requests pertaining to production orders and enforcement of foreign confiscation orders, countries would also have to provide corresponding foreign law immunity certificates. A foreign law immunity certificate is meant to certify that a person in the requesting country could be compelled to produce the thing sought in the mutual legal assistance request under the laws of the requesting country. Countries may adopt the following template for the foreign law immunity certificate.
Practitioners’ Guide to Asset Recovery in Singapore
The Practitioners’ Guide to Asset Recovery in Singapore is a publication which seeks to guide requesting countries when drafting mutual legal assistance requests to Singapore in asset recovery matters. It includes the following information:
- an explanation of the asset recovery regime in Singapore
- the types of assistance that may be rendered
- guidance on the technical requirements and procedural aspects of making mutual legal assistance requests
- contact information of the various departments involved in the asset recovery process
- various template forms that requesting countries can adopt
An electronic copy of the guide may be downloaded here.
Transmission of requests
Completed requests may be sent by the Central Authority of the country making the request to the following address:
International Affairs Division
The Attorney-General’s Chambers
1 Upper Pickering Street
In cases of urgent requests, a copy of the request may also be sent by fax to +65 6538 9000 or by email to AGC_CentralAuthority@agc.gov.sg. However, the original request should still be sent to the above address.
Countries with which Singapore has an MLAT should also comply with any relevant provisions of the MLAT with regard to the transmission of requests.
Queries in relation to mutual legal assistance
Queries in relation to mutual legal assistance may be sent to the correspondence address and fax number above, or sent by email to AGC_CentralAuthority@agc.gov.sg.