The PILON Cybercrime Working Group is pleased to announce the launch of the PILON Mutual Legal Assistance Handbook: Cybercrime & Electronic Evidence.

This resource has been developed to assist criminal justice practitioners in the Pacific to obtain, and provide, material through mutual legal assistance that critical for criminal investigations and prosecutions. As a key form of international cooperation, mutual legal assistance involves one country requesting assistance from another country and seeking assistance in relation to a criminal proceeding. This form of international cooperation has become increasingly important for cybercrime investigations and prosecutions as crime more borderless and transnational in nature.

The handbook has been specifically designed for PILON members to improve understanding of how mutual legal assistance can be utilised to combat criminal activity where computer technology is used as a tool, target or accessory. That said, the handbook has universal application and provides practical information for all those involved in the mutual legal assistance process – from law enforcement, policy officers, prosecutors through to judicial officers and private sector service providers.

It includes background information on the different types of international cooperation and the principles underlying these important mechanisms and specific information on cybercrime and electronic evidence, all supplemented by instructive and fun illustrations. The handbook also includes tips on working with service providers, the importance of preserving internet records and the different kinds of data and what implications that has for investigators and prosecutors. The handbook is a practical tool and contains a range of helpful checklists and advice on how to go about making an outgoing request, and progressing an incoming request.

Country profiles summarising key central authority contact information and legislative requirements under the relevant mutual assistance legislation for PILON members and some key partner countries are set out in Chapter 6 and provide a good first port of call when considering whether to make a request. A summary table of popular service providers has been compiled in Chapter 7 providing contact information and links to law enforcement guidelines which are an essential first step for law enforcement. A number of templates are available for download and use by PILON member law enforcement agencies and central authorities to assist in the preparation and processing of mutual assistance requests.

You can scroll through and explore the handbook as an online resource or download. Printed hardcopies will also be available to PILON members in due course.