Investigating authorities, whether it is the Police, HMRC, FCA, SFO etc increasingly rely on obtaining warrants from the Courts to conduct searches of business and residential premises.

Frances Murray of Kangs Solicitors examines what can be done once an investigating authority has obtained and executed a search warrant in relation to your premises.

At Kangs Solicitors we are regularly instructed at the pre-charge stage of a case. This is usually when clients have been arrested and premises associated with the clients have been searched under the authority of a Court approved search warrant.

This is a crucial stage of a case, as any action taken at this point could determine whether your case progresses beyond the investigation stage to the next stage which involves being charged with an offence and entering into Court proceedings.

How can our Investigation Team help you? | Search Warrant Solicitors

We are dedicated to exploring all avenues to assist our clients during the investigation stage.

We have a dedicated team of experienced solicitors who have a proven track-record of success in handling a wide variety of criminal investigations.

We appreciate that this will be a very traumatic time as often clients have been arrested for the first time in their lives and their world has been turned upside down.

One of the key areas that we address is to examine the search warrants that may have been granted by a Court to allow premises to be searched.

We look to see if the search warrant has been properly applied for, properly granted and properly executed – in effect we consider the legality of the search warrant and the search itself.

You are entitled to challenge the legality of the search warrant granted in relation to premises by way of judicial review proceedings. There is a strict time limit of 3 months from the date the warrant was issued so time is of the essence.

Upon initial examination of the search warrant, it is often appropriate to take a robust action in order to safeguard the client’s position.

We will often need to apply to the investigating authority and to the Court that issued the search warrant for the information laid before the relevant judiciary. The safeguarding of this information at an early stage is crucial to the future success of the case.

Recent Case | Challenge to Search Warrants | Kangs Solicitors

In a recent case conducted by Kangs Solicitors. we obtained the information laid before the Court.

Upon a detailed examination of this material, we identified that the Court had been materially misled in the course of an oral application made by the Police as well as in the written information provided in support of the information.

In particular the application for a search warrant by the Police did not comply with sections 8(1)(d) and 15(2)(c) of the Police and Criminal Act 1984 in that:

The material sought was not defined.

(In the case of Energy Financing Team v Director of the Serious Fraud Office [2005] EWHC 1626 (Admin), the Court had ruled that a warrant should be capable of being understood by those carrying out the search warrant without reference to any other document);

In addition the search warrant sought by the Police also did not comply with sections 8(1)(d) and 15(6)(b) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in that:

The material specified in the warrant lacked the required particularity in the following ways:

  • Banking documentation;
    this category was so wide as to amount to a fishing expedition.
    (R v Chatwani v National Crime Agency [2015] EWHC 1283 (Admin))
  • Electronic media;
    the wording in respect of business records was found to be too broad.
    (R v (Anand) v Revenue and Customs [2012] EWHC 2989 (Admin)

On the above basis we submitted on our client’s behalf that that excluded material had been seized by the Police and both the original issuing of the search warrant and the subsequent execution of the search warrant were amenable to judicial review proceedings.

The remedies sought in this matter included quashing of the warrant, a declaration that it was issued unlawfully, damages and costs.

Contact Us | Kangs Solicitors

We are regularly contacted by clients who require advice and assistance in relation to pre-charge matters such as arrest, police bail and search warrant issues.

If you have such an issue and wish to discuss matters in an informal friendly environment please feel free to contact Hamraj Kang at Kangs Solicitors. We will offer you practical advice on how to progress your case.