I was told by a friend studying Law, that for a country to submit a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) request there would be certain criteria that must first be met. If they are not met, the MLAT would not be accepted.

Firstly, the crime has to be considered a crime in both jurisdictions.

Secondly, the minimum sentence for the crime would have to be at least two years imprisonment.

I wanted to check if this was true, and any other high level points that would be considered. In particular, I find the second point a bit strange, surely they mean the maximum (not minimum) sentence would have to be over two years?

This is not for scholar purposes, but just to gain a personal overview of how the legal system works cross jurisdiction.

1 Answer 1


The second criterion is about the seriousness of offences and depends on the specific treaty. This is reflected in Canada's implementing legislation, the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act. It defines "offence" to mean "an offence within the meaning of the relevant agreement."

For the treaty between Canada and the United States, there is no minimum sentence on Canada's side; it just needs to be an offence that can be prosecuted by indictment or one specifically listed in an annex to the treaty. On the United States side, it needs to be an offence for which the statutory penality is a term of imprisonment of one year or more, or an offence specified in the annex to the treaty.


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