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 section 9 of the 1984 Act allowing the police to have access to special procedure materials: ‘The Act does not require a circuit judge to give reasons when making an order inter partes or issuing a warrant ex parte for access to special procedure material. However, challenges to decisions of circuit judges which have come before this Court demonstrate, in my opinion, especially as to ex parte applications, the need for this to be done. Reasons need not be elaborate, but they should be recorded and be sufficient to identify the substance of any relevant information or representation put before the judge in addition to the written information. They should set out what inferences he has drawn from the material relevant to the statutory conditions governing the content and form of the order or warrant sought. Where he has considered the question of legal privilege he should explain why, if he does, he has included in the order or warrant material which is prima facie privileged, or why he has excluded material as subject to privilege. In the latter case, where the excluded material consists of particular documents or categories of documents which might otherwise be included in the material to which access is given, he should explain why, if he does, he has included in the order or warrant material which is prima facie privileged, or why he has excluded material as subject to privilege. In the latter case, where the excluded material consists of particular documents or categories of documents which might otherwise be included in the material to which access is given, he should carefully describe and identify them in the order or warrant.
These requirements may seem onerous for the exercise of a power to which the police often seek recourse as a matter of urgency. But a Circuit Judge has a responsibility not only to assist the effective investigation of crime, but also to protect as needs be the holder of and the person in respect of whom he holds material in confidence from unjustified intrusion into their private affairs.’
Auld LJ said: ‘the fact that a solicitor is himself under investigation is not of itself necessarily a sufficient reason for ordering such an intrusion into his affairs and those of his clients. All the circumstances of the individual application must be taken into account, including, for example, the seriousness of the matter being investigated, the evidence already available to the police to found a prosecution based on it, and the extent to which the solicitor has already been put on notice of interest on his affairs such as might have caused him to hide or destroy or otherwise interfere with incriminating documents.’
Watkins LJ, Auld LJ
 Crim LR 962
England and Wales
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Hafner and Hochstrasser (A Firm), Regina (on the Application of) v Australian Securities and Investments Commission Admn 5-Mar-2008
The Commission renewed its application for a review of a decision on their request for judicial assistance in obtaining evidence from the firm. The firm had produced confidential documents to the court, and not disclosed to the Commission.
Cited – Faisaltex 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.
Police, Legal Professions
Updated: 17 May 2022; Ref: scu.260138