Regina 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 public interest in protecting the personal and property rights of citizens against infringement and invasion. There is an obvious tension between these two public interests because crime could be most effectively investigated and prosecuted if the personal and property rights of citizens could be freely overridden and total protection of the personal and property rights of citizens would make investigation and prosecution of many crimes impossible or virtually so.
The 1984 Act seeks to effect a carefully judged balance between these interests and that it why it is a detailed and complex Act. If the scheme intended by Parliament is to be implemented it is important that the provisions laid down in the Act should be fully and fairly enforced. It would be quite wrong to approach the Act with any preconception as to how these provisions should be operated save in so far as such preconception is derived from the legislation itself.
It is, in my judgment, clear that the courts must try to avoid any interpretation which would distort the parliamentary scheme and so upset the intended balance. In the present field, the primary duty to give effect to the parliamentary scheme rests on circuit judges. It seems plain that they are required to exercise those powers with great care and caution. ‘
An officer applying for a search warrant is under a duty not only to avoid positive misrepresentation but ‘to make a full disclosure of all matters which might affect the court’s decision to make or refuse the order and, in particular, to make disclosure of all matters known to [them] which might militate against the making of an order.’


Bingham LJ


[1991] 93 Cr App R 60


Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984


England and Wales


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 Leicester Crown Court ex parte DPP 1987
The police had applied for an order granting access to an accused’s bank account. The Judge ruled that the application should be made inter partes. The Director of Public Prosecutions sought judicial review of that ruling. By the time the case came . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Director of Serious Fraud Office ex parte KM and others 7-Apr-1998
A request for assistance came from the United States pursuant to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty of 2nd December 1996. Pill LJ, giving the first judgment stressed the need for candour and full disclosure when a warrant is being sought, quoting . .
CitedEnergy Financing Team Ltd and others v The Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Bow Street Magistrates Court Admn 22-Jul-2005
The claimants sought to set aside warrants and executions under them to provide assistance to a foreign court investigating alleged unlawful assistance to companies in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Held: The issue of such a warrant was a serious step. . .
CitedRegina 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 . .
CitedFaisaltex Ltd and others, Regina (on the Application of) v Crown Court Sitting at Preston and others etc Admn 21-Nov-2008
Nine claimants sought leave to bring judicial review of the issue of search warrants against solicitors’ and business and other premises, complaining of the seizure of excluded material and of special procedure material. There were suspicions of the . .
CitedMercury Tax Group Ltd and Another, Regina (On the Application of) v HM Revenue and Customs and Others Admn 13-Nov-2008
The claimant sought judicial review of the lawfulness of search warrants given to the Commissioners and executed at their various offices. The Revenue had suspect the dishonest implementation of a tax avoidance scheme. The claimants said that there . .
CitedSher and Others v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and Others Admn 21-Jul-2010
The claimants, Pakistani students in the UK on student visas, had been arrested and held by the defendants under the 2000 Act before being released 13 days later without charge. They were at first held incognito. They said that their arrest and . .
CitedFitzpatrick and Others v The Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis QBD 11-Jan-2012
The claimants, two solicitors and their employer firm sought damages alleging trespass and malicious procurement by police officers in obtaining and executing search warrants against the firm in 2007 when they were investigating suspected offences . .
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 . .
CitedBritish Sky Broadcasting Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v The Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis SC 12-Mar-2014
The court was asked as to the powers of Magistrates hearing an application for a search warrant to receive excluded or special procedure material which had not been disclosed to the respondent. The court had overturned an order made by the district . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Police

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.230384