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Search Orders / Search Warrants

Janes Solicitors have the expertise to challenge wrongly or improperly searched premises or business and wrongly seized material. You must act fast if you believe there is a problem or you have a complaint about how your property was searched or seized. Get in touch with our expert team now and we will advise you on the best strategy.You can give police the permission to search your premises at any time.

Sections 8-18 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), gives the police statutory protection to enter and search your premises for evidence. These powers can be put into practise with or without a search warrant.

The usual procedure for the police to obtain a warrant to search premises is that they apply to the magistrates’ court.  If the magistrates’ court believe the police have reasonable grounds to suspect that an indictable offence has been committed and that the premises to be searched may contain evidence or materials that will be of beneficial importance to any subsequent trial, they are likely to grant a search warrant.

The courts will also look at whether searching the premises in question would be impossible without the granting of such a warrant.

If a search warrant is granted, the police may be allowed entry to:

  • An identified premises;
  • Any premises occupied or owned by the person named on the search warrant;
  • One premises on a number of occasions as stated in the search warrant; or
  • Unlimited entries into the same premises.

Once a warrant has been granted the police have three months to carry out the search. The search must be carried out at a reasonable hour, unless the police believe this would affect the efficiency of the search operation.

When a police officer attends a search, they must provide their identification and a copy of the search warrant so the suspect knows what is going on. If it is impossible or impractical to do so at the start of the search, they must do so at the most convenient and appropriate time.

When the occupier is present, the police must ask for permission to search the property, unless the search would be hindered by doing so.

The civil equivalent of a search warrant is referred to as a Search Order.  Applications for Search Orders are made when there are concerns that evidence will be concealed, altered or even destroyed in the face of a court order.

In these cases, the court can grant a search order allowing one party's solicitors to enter the other party's home or business premises to search for and seize specified goods or documents and a defendant will have no prior knowledge of the order until the solicitor arrives at the premises to conduct the search.

These are draconian orders, and as a result, there are safeguards in place to protect the interests of the defendant: a list must be produced by the supervising lawyer of items seized, and the defendant must be allowed to check the list against the items removed. Documents seized must also be copied and returned within two days.

If your property has become subject to a search order, get in touch with our team straight away. An immediate response to such measures is crucial, as is expert advice on your next step. Early advice is critical in the defence of criminal allegations and investigations, and should be entrusted to our highly skilled team of defence strategists. We work tirelessly to ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcome.

Contact our Expert Criminal Defence Lawyers London

Speak to our criminal defence lawyers for advice and assistance at the soonest opportunity if you have received a search order.

For expert legal advice and representation, call Janes Solicitors today 020 7930 5100 or complete our online enquiry form and one of our lawyers will be in touch as soon as possible.

We are there when you need us. Available seven days a week, you can call us on our out-of-hours service number on 07789 622 430.