It's still very early days in terms of understanding what the enforcement landscape will look like between the UK and the EU in the months and years ahead.
So much is not expressly covered that there will likely be further discussions on a wide range of enforcement and investigative measures as the systems adjust. What we know so far is that:
- The UK opted out of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW). Instead, it has signed up to a fast-track extradition process called "Surrender". Ironically, Surrender gives the signatories more control to refuse to extradite suspects than the EAW. Under Surrender, signatories can refuse to extradite a suspect purely on the basis that the suspect is a National of that state.
- The UK has lost access to the European Investigation Order (and its tight timeframes for compliance) and will rely on the more cumbersome 1959 EU Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance.
- The UK has lost access to the Schengen Information System II (which provides real-time alerts that UK enforcement agencies used to identify suspects in EU member states) but will still be able to make specific requests for the same information from the EU on a case by case basis.
- The UK retains the right to participate in joint investigation teams (JITs) (which are a key tool in prosecuting complex cross-border offences).
These arrangements seem to fit with the narrative of "taking back control", with the UK seeking to retain access to much of the same information but on a request basis, rather than having access to that information as of right (with associated obligations). Whether or not this distinction generates practical problems (in the form of delay) remains to be seen.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the fact that the UK has retained the right to participate in JITs. This is consistent with the UK's increasingly prescriptive attitude to corporate compliance. Continued participation in high profile JITs should enable the UK to maintain its "Gold Standard" in bribery and corruption prevention and leaves the door open for other high profile UK-EU co-operation in areas like fraud, forgery and money-laundering.
The UK now faces more cumbersome enforcement and investigative procedures as a result of the country’s full separation from the EU, but it has managed to salvage some consolations in its new relationship with the bloc, experts say.