Most treaty requests are made pursuant to a mutual legal
assistance treaty (MLAT), which has the force of law. This
generally faster and more reliable than letters rogatory. Consult
the Office of International Affairs (OIA) to determine whether the
United States has an MLAT with the country from which the evidence
The MLAT will define the obligation to provide assistance, the
scope of assistance, and the contents of the request. It may also
contain evidentiary provisions that vary from the Federal Rules of
Evidence. MLATs are not, however, the only treaties that provide
legal assistance: some extradition treaties and many tax treaties
contain such provisions.
- Content: Because treaties are negotiated
separately, each one differs from the next. Experience with one
not be considered universally applicable. OIA will provide models
tailored to the treaty under which assistance is being requested.
general, a treaty request includes the same information that must
provided in a letter rogatory, except that the promise of
omitted and certain additional information (e.g., name, address and
citizenship of all persons affected by the request) may be
this Manual at 281 for general
- Procedure: Obtain a model from OIA. Prepare a draft
OIA's model and send it to OIA for clearance. OIA will either
the request in final (where minimal changes are necessary) or
to the Assistant United States Attorney to make the necessary
which will then be sent back to OIA. All treaties currently in
designate the Department of Justice as the "central authority"
to make the request; because of those provisions, the request is
in the Department rather than by a judge. Make arrangements for
translation (see next section)|B382 after the request has
signed or as otherwise directed by OIA. Generally, OIA will
request only after receipt of the translation. OIA will send the
with translation directly to the foreign Central Authority, which
oversees its execution.