Currently, numerous countries have extradition treaties in place such that an individual can be transported internationally to face investigation and criminal penalties. The extradition process can be complex and lengthy, however, requiring negotiations and extensive legal maneuvering. If there is no extradition treaty in place, foreign powers could still work together based on mutual legal assistance.
When there is no agreement in place, non-treaty countries can still make requests of Canada based on the terms of mutual legal assistance. These requests are far more limited than agreements based on an existing extradition treaty, but can still be effective in accomplishing a broad array of legal goals, including:
- Search and seizure
- Gathering physical materials
- Compelling witnesses to give statements often by either audio conference or video conference
- Transferring an already-sentenced individual to a requesting country so they can provide statements, evidence or investigatory assistances. This transfer is only completed with the consent of the sentenced individual.
In addition, the court-ordered assistance can include elements centered on enforcement. Canadian officials can agree to enforcing criminal fines, enforcing foreign restraint, enforcing forfeiture orders or enforcing seizure orders.
While not all countries maintain international extradition treaties, they can still seek mutual legal assistance regarding a variety of criminal investigations. Charged with a crime or a pending investigation, individuals face an intimidating and daunting process. Under these circumstances, it is crucial that individuals seek experienced legal guidance uniquely tailored to ensure their rights are being protected and designed to limit their exposure to potentially severe criminal penalties abroad.