International cooperation is critical in investigating crimes that have a transnational element. Since its establishment, the Commonwealth has developed several schemes to encourage international cooperation in criminal matters.

Cooperation in criminal matters

These schemes are neither model laws nor treaties. They represent non-binding and flexible arrangements that provide a constructive and pragmatic process to allow Commonwealth countries to work together.  

These Commonwealth Schemes for International Cooperation in Criminal Matters are as follows:

  • London Scheme for Extradition within the Commonwealth (LSE - 1966);
  • Revised Scheme Relating to Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters within the Commonwealth (Revised Harare Scheme - 1986);
  • Scheme for the Transfer of Convicted Offenders (STCO - 1986); and
  • The Framework for the Commonwealth Network of Contact Points (CNCP - 2005).

In 2017, the Commonwealth also developed the Model Legislation on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters as a guide to assist member countries in implementing the Revised Harare Scheme. It also provides a framework to support comprehensive international collaboration in criminal matters.

In addition, the Commonwealth Secretariat has been in touch with member countries to collect and update its records on contact points, central authorities and competent authorities. Data has also been collected on relevant domestic legislation that implements or refers to the subject matters within the schemes. 

That information has now been consolidated into the Commonwealth International Cooperation in Criminal Matters Database. The database is an up-to-date and relevant repository which provides pertinent information to member countries seeking assistance on criminal matters with a relevant cross-border element.

Contact us

For further information, please email: [email protected]

For information on the Electronic Evidence Focal Points (CEEFP) which forms part of the Commonwealth Cyber Programme, please email: [email protected]