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The Digital Unfitness of Mutual Legal Assistance

Els de Busser
Journal 16 July 2019
This article was published on Brill | Nijhoff

Abstract

Any crime could generate digital evidence. That is a reality law enforcement authorities across the world need to face. The volatile and “unterritorial” nature of the evidence means that international cooperation in criminal matters is confronted with new questions. One of these questions is whether the traditional cooperation mechanism, mutual legal assistance, is a viable way of working. Due to its time-consuming and cumbersome functioning combined with the lack of a faster alternative, countries have developed unilateral and extraterritorial methods of evidence gathering. This paper zooms in on this development and the risks it entails.