A letter rogatory is a petition issued by a Colombian or foreign judicial authority to its equivalent in another country or in ours, requesting a certain judicial procedure to be carried out, such as the gathering of evidence or obtaining information. This is based on a variety of international conventions or treaties which cover the processing of letters rogatory and, if there are none, on international reciprocity.

Cost:

This procedure is free of charge, with the exception of apostille and legalization costs, which must be paid by the person or entity requesting the service.

Address for the service to be requested:

Carrera 5 No. 9-03, Bogota D.C. - Colombia, 8:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M. and 2:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.

General Requirements
  • A letter rogatory must be issued by the competent judicial authority of the requesting country, which must be fully identified and filed with the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires in Bogota D.C.
  • It must be in writing, unless the receiver State permits the use of other media in urgent situations, in which case written ratification will always be required.
  • The original language used is Spanish; however, in the case of non-Spanish speaking countries, it must be forwarded together with a translation. In this case, it must be clearly written in order to facilitate the translation.
  • As its name implies, it must be written in the style of a supplication or request.
  • The original of the request must be forwarded together with its annexes and the respective translation.
  • The documents sent must be authenticated, legalized and/or with apostille, unless there is a precept to the contrary.
  • The request must state precisely the competent entity of the required State which will be responsible for responding to it.
  • All letters rogatory must be signed by the head of the court for the purpose of authentication of his/her signature.
  • Some States require the request to be forwarded in triplicate, in Spanish and in the language of the required State. At present the United States of America and England do so.
Requirements for letters rogatory in criminal matters

In addition to the above mentioned general requirements, in the case of criminal matters, letters rogatory must meet other conditions:

  • Presentation in writing in an original and two copies. Some countries, such as the United States of America, require three copies.
  • State the name of the Colombian judicial authority responsible for the investigation and a description of the respective charge.
  • State the corresponding provisional legal accusation when appropriate, and whether the person has a criminal background or investigations in the required State.
  • State whether any persons have been arrested.
  • Any special requirements must be included in the complete description of the procedures requested, as the case may be. This is so in the following events, among others: for the gathering of evidence, the legal regulations which so establish must also be referred to; in the case of remittance of evidence, the document which must be sent must be specified or reproduced, stating the process in which it is included and the authority which processes it; for the receipt of testimonies, the concrete facts on which the interrogation is to be based must be specified and the questionnaire attached; when the case file contains documents or information whose authenticity the judge or prosecutor wishes to verify, authentic copies of the documents it is wished to corroborate must be remitted.
  • Petitions for the gathering and transmission of evidence by Foreign authorities must include a request that the latter certify that such evidence was validly gathered in accordance with the respective procedural law.
  • The regulations supposedly violated by the accused and on which the petition is based must be stated (provide photocopies with a translation, if appropriate) and also the importance of the evidence, what it is intended to prove and its pertinence to the facts of the case must be stated.
  • In the case of remittance of criminal actions, for the processing of persons by foreign authorities, the grounds supporting the remittance of the case file must be clearly explained.
  • Certification of signature and of incumbency of the position, unless there is an internationalagreement permitting this to be omitted.
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