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Cross-border law enforcement after Brexit: partnering in crime

29 April 2021

The approach of the UK and the EU to cross-border law enforcement and co-operation in criminal judicial matters after Brexit is set out in the EU-UK trade and co-operation agreement (TCA) and is incorporated into UK law through the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020.

At the heart of the TCA is a clear desire for the UK to maintain the closest possible working relationship with the EU, given the UK’s loss of direct access to certain sources of information and initiatives. Instead of falling back on the often inefficient and cumbersome pre-EU framework for mutual legal assistance (MLA) in criminal investigations and extradition, as would have happened in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the TCA attempts to strike a balance between maintaining the essence of EU legal developments and recognising the end of the UK’s involvement as an EU member state. This appears to have been achieved in an overall successful manner, with sophisticated investigative tools or their equivalents remaining available and the UK’s ongoing commitment to flagship international anti-money laundering (AML) efforts continuing undisturbed.

This article first appeared in the May 2021 issue of PLC Magazine: