Chapter 1
Review of the Extradition Act and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act

Key proposals

Proposal: The Extradition Act 1999 should be replaced by a new Extradition Act.

RationaleThe problems with the existing Act relate to its fundamental underpinnings as well as technical aspects such as the procedural requirements and the sharing of roles. The problems cannot be resolved by mere tinkering with the existing legislation.

ProposalThe Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992 should be replaced or substantially redrafted.

RationaleThe Act needs to more appropriately balance the function of providing a gateway for foreign countries to access the tools New Zealand has in investigation and prosecuting crime with its gatekeeping role of ensuring the rights of individuals in New Zealand affected by the requests are sufficiently protected.

1.1The Law Commission has been asked to review the Extradition Act 1999 and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992 (MACMA). These Acts provide a framework for formal assistance between New Zealand and foreign governments in the investigation and prosecution of crime.

1.2The purpose of the review is to ensure that these Acts contain processes that are efficient, effective, and not overly complex or unnecessarily expensive. The review will have regard to the changing international context and international best practice, alongside New Zealand’s international obligations, in ensuring the extradition and mutual legal assistance frameworks balance New Zealand’s commitment, on the one hand, to international cooperation in criminal matters, and on the other, to the rights of those being investigated or prosecuted.1
1See Appendix A for the full terms of reference for the review.