Regina 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 procedures, which constitute a serious inroad upon the liberty of the subject, are not abused. In addition the court made clear that fulfilment of each part of the relevant conditions is a matter of substance. The reasons for authorising the seizure must be made clear and applications without notice must be fully justified. As to section 9: ‘The special procedure under section 9 and schedule 1 is a serious inroad upon the liberty of the subject. The responsibility for ensuring that the procedure is not abused lies with circuit judges. It is of cardinal importance that circuit judges should be scrupulous in discharging that responsibility. The responsibility is greatest when the circuit judge is asked to issue a warrant under paragraph 12. It is essential that the reason for authorising the seizure is made clear. The preferred method of obtaining material for a police investigation should always be by way of an inter partes order under paragraph 4, after notice of application has been served under paragraph 8. An ex parte application under paragraph 12 must never become a matter of common form and satisfaction as to fulfilment of the conditions is an important matter of substance.’


Lloyd LJ


[1988] Crim LR 384


Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 10


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedMiller Gardner Solicitors, Regina (on the Application of) v Minshull Street Crown Court Admn 20-Dec-2002
Police investigating crime obtained a warrant to search a solicitor’s offices for details of their clients. The solicitors appealed.
Held: The details required, namely dates of contacts with a certain telephone number were not legally . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Criminal Practice

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.197743