Regina v Lewes Crown Court and Chief Constable of Sussex Police ex parte Nigel Weller and Co: Admn 12 May 1999

The applicant sought judicial review of a decision to grant a search warrant in respect of his offices, saying that the material covered was protected by legal privilege. The warrant had been unavailable under section 8 because of the privilege, and so the police had applied to a circuit judge under section 9.
Held: The order should be quashed. The judge should have given reasons for his order. ‘it is not always easy for a hard-pressed circuit judge to remember to give reasons when he has no more assistance than can be provided by a police officer on his own making what the officer no doubt regards as a formal ex parte application, but the reality is that –
(1) the person or persons against whom an order has been made are entitled to know why it is made:
(2) the requirement to give reasons should help to ensure that a judge does, as he must, address each of the statutory requirements before making the order, and –
(3) if it is necessary to review an order in this court reasons will be of great assistance. We will know why the judge decided as he did. ‘
Neither the police nor the court below appeared to have given thought to the need to resptrict the scope of the search order, and thus to bypass the protection given by the Act to special material.


Kennedy LJ VP, Mitchell J


[1999] EWHC Admin 424




Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 8 9


CitedRegina v Central Criminal Court Ex Parte Propend Finance Pty Ltd and Others QBD 17-Mar-1994
A Home Secretary requesting warrants must be specific on the type he required. It was his duty, and not that of the police to state the method of seizure of documents for use in a foreign jurisdiction. A judge making an order should give reasons for . .
CitedRegina v Southampton Crown Court ex parte J and P 21-Dec-1992
A special material warrant was quashed, partly because it was too widely drawn. It was suspected that there had been thefts from the solicitor’s firms client account. Watkins LJ discussed the need for a judge to give reasons for a decision under . .
CitedRegina v Maidstone Crown Court ex parte Waitt QBD 1988
The solicitor applicant challenged the grant of a search order under section 9.
Held: The order was quashed. The court underlined the need for judges to be scrupulous in discharging their responsibilities so as to ensure that use of the . .
CitedRegina v Leeds Crown Court ex parte Switalski 1991
It is preferable, in an ordinary case, for an application for a search warrant in a solicitor’s office to be made on notice. However, if a solicitor under investigation were to have knowledge of what was contemplated the material sought might . .
CitedRegina v Derby Magistrates Court Ex Parte B HL 19-Oct-1995
No Breach of Solicitor Client Confidence Allowed
B was charged with the murder of a young girl. He made a confession to the police, but later changed his story, saying his stepfather had killed the girl. He was acquitted. The stepfather was then charged with the murder. At his committal for trial, . .
CitedRegina v Lewes Crown Court ex parte Hill 1991
Bingham LJ said: ‘The Police and Criminal Evidence Act governs a field in which there are two very obvious public interests. There is, first of all, a public interest in the effective investigation and prosecution of crime. Secondly, there is a . .

Cited by:

CitedMills and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Sussex Police and Another Admn 25-Jul-2014
The claimants faced criminal charges involving allegations of fraud and corruption. They now challenged by judicial review a search and seizure warrant saying that it was unlawful. A restraint order had been made against them and they had complied . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Legal Professions, Police

Updated: 28 May 2022; Ref: scu.139688