Ben Henriques comments on the European Investigation Order in Law360
British legislation entering into force on Monday cements the right of European Union authorities to demand the execution of cross-border criminal investigation requests, even as legal experts question whether the pioneering enforcement law will survive the UK’s exit from the EU.
“This may well result in large corporates receiving an increased number of requests for material from the authorities in multiple jurisdictions,” said Ben Henriques, a white collar attorney at Corker Binning.
“Given the proximity of the U.K. to Europe and the high volume of cross-border trade between them, if the UK is not party to this system it is likely to slow UK prosecutors down,” said Henriques. “Equally, the potential of the EIO system might encourage prosecuting bodies other than the SFO to more vigorously pursue cases with a European element.”
British and EU negotiators began Brexit negotiations in June and aim to secure the U.K.’s departure from the EU by March 2019. Negotiators have held out the possibility of transition arrangements, but Prime Minister Theresa May has made clear that many legal arrangements won’t survive, or will have to be renegotiated.
“However long the shadow of Brexit, there is no legal reason why the U.K. should not retain these regulations after it leaves the EU,” Henriques said. “Whether this will happen is a matter of politics.”
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