This Bill would allow law enforcement agencies to apply for a UK court order to get stored electronic data directly from a company or person based outside the UK.  On 28th June, the Home Office published various documents concerning the Bill, including a factsheet and impact assessment.  A court order – overseas production order (OPO) – can only be granted where there is an international co-operation agreement in place between the UK and the other country.  Currently, when UK agencies are seeking access to data for evidence purposes – and that data is held by providers based overseas – they must seek access to the data using Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA or MLAT) channels, but obtaining evidence via MLA can be a slow and cumbersome process and, in some cases, evidence cannot be obtained in time to support a prosecution or an investigation.  Once an order has been authorised the subject of that order (which would most likely be a private company) would provide the requested data to the investigating or prosecuting authority that applied for the order.  The Bill creates a new, standalone legal regime and does not amend existing legislation (except for consequential purposes).  However, the Bill does draw on existing legislative provisions that relate to the obtaining of material to assist a criminal investigation or prosecution (such as the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984)

The Bill itself is available at –

And Explanatory Notes, published on 27th June, are available at –

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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