Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use the MLA Tool?
  • The MLA Tool guides criminal justice practitioners to draft requests for mutual legal assistance using a series of templates
  • The MLA Tool covers all standard MLA types of assistance derived from international best practice. You can easily add others as they evolve.
  • The MLA Tool works for your entire criminal law casework.
  • The MLA Tool was developed, tested and accepted by practitioners for practitioners.
Can this MLA Tool be adapted to national requirements?

Yes, and you don't need to be a computer expert to do it. You can easily adjust the MLA Tool  at any time to your domestic law and practice by adding or editing the template data through the Main Menu.

How much does the MLA Tool  tell me about other country's legal systems and requirements?
  • The MLA Tool gives you details and full contact particulars of where to send your request in other States.
  • The MLA Tool  also includes links to useful legislation sites of other countries. You can supplement these through your own web-searches.
  • The MLA Tool  does not spell-out the legal system requirements of other countries, because it is not yet possible to gather and maintain accurate, up-to-date information globally.
  • There are a number of national and regional authorities that provide succinct summaries and manuals. These resources complement the MLA Tool.
How much does the MLA Tool cost?
  • The MLA Tool  is free of charge.
  • And it helps reduce your costs - effective requests are generated with least possible time and cost and the authors are trained in the process.
What are the system requirements?

We recommend that your PC meets the following specifications:

  • Screen resolution 800x600 (or higher)
  • Operating System: Windows 2000/XP (or higher)
  • Software: Microsoft Access and Word 2000 (or higher). If you have Microsoft Access 1997, please write an email to: mla@unodc.org
  • The MLA Tool is a "zipped" file (= compressed in order to reduce the download time from the web-page) and needs to be "unzipped" (= uncompressed in order to convert it back to the original format before working with it). In order to "unzip" the file, a software called "Winzip" is needed. Winzip is part of most standard Windows-PCs. If this is not the case, Winzip for Windows can be downloaded without cost at http://www.winzip.com
  • Internet connection is required for the download of the MLA Tool (and Winzip for Windows) but is not mandatory to run the MLA Tool itself. However, it is recommended to have reliable internet connection in order to retrieve important background information via internet links provided in the MLA Tool.
Do I need internet connection to run the MLA Tool?
  • No. If you have online access, you can retrieve key information via built-in internet links, but you don't need the internet to run the MLA Tool. It will run from your hard-disk, or server if you are part of a computer-network (LAN), but not from the internet itself.
How secure is the MLA Tool?

The MLA Tool is as secure as your computer system (either a server/network or individual PC/hard drive). Computer security is your responsibility. Possible security threats are computer-viruses as well as access by unauthorized persons. The MLA Tool is not encrypted. Please note that encryption programmes might influence the formatting of some of the underlying programming in the MLA Tool.

Is there a storage limit on the MLA Tool?

No, You can store as many requests as your computer system allows you to. The faster and more advanced you computer system is, the more requests you can store and the faster the MLA Tool can run. Some of the fill-in fields in the MLA Tool are limited by number of characters. The User Manual lists these fields.

Is the MLA Tool available in all languages?
  • You can currently download the English, French, Spanish, Russian, Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Portuguese and Serbian versions. The Portuguese version, was initiated and financed by the Ministries of Justice of Brazil and Portugal and the Montenegrin version was initiated and financed by the OSCE Mission in Montenegro.
  • Albanian, Arabic and Macedonian language versions are underway.
  • Please note that it is possible to translate the MLA Tool into other main languages. If you wish to initiate such translation, UNODC's Organized Crime and Criminal Justice Section can assist you.
Can the MLA Tool automatically translate requests into other languages?

No, the MLA Tool itself does not translate the request, but you can always translate the final MLA request document to other languages, as required. Each MLA Tool version only creates MLA requests in one language, using your inputs, which you have made in this language. For example, the Spanish MLA Tool version only creates Spanish MLA requests, and all inputs must be made in Spanish. To find out language requirements, check the relevant MLA treaties, or if necessary liaise with the requested State on what languages are accepted by them for your MLA request. Write the MLA request with the Tool either in your own language or one you are proficient in. Submit the final MLA request in the language you have created it in, together with a certified translation into the language specified by the requested State. Other language versions of the Tool can also be downloaded to help your translators with technical terms in the language required by the Requested State. In case the MLA Tool is not yet available in your language nor one that you are proficient in, write the request in your own language, following the proposed structure identified in the Manual, and have the final document translated into the required language.