S, F and L, Regina (on The Application of) v Chief Constable of The British Transport Police and Another: Admn 20 Jun 2013

The claimants, solicitors, challenged search warrants issued against their homes and professional premises.
Held: The court considered the proper procedure to be used when the police wish to search the premises or homes of solicitors for documents or other materials when the solicitors are acting for those who are the subject of police investigations. There had been a failure to express the true purpose of the warrant: the Claimants had acted in their professional capacity as lawyers for a client in relation to a criminal investigation, and there was direct evidence that one Claimant had acted dishonestly and in such a way as to assist the client in concealing evidence when accompanying him to a police station. The purpose of the warrant went far beyond what was expressly stated on it, and was to seek all documents held by the firms of solicitors that related to the client in all his activities. It therefore went to the heart of the solicitor/client relationship and the privileged documents that would have been generated in the course of that relationship. The failure of the information presented or the warrant itself to disclose or describe the true purpose of the warrant was fatal to the legality of the process.

Aikens LJ, Silber J
[2013] EWHC 2189 (Admin), [2014] 1 All ER 268, [2013] WLR(D) 312
Bailii, WLRD
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedAB and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court and Another Admn 10-Apr-2014
The claimants challenged the lawfuness of search warrants issued by the respondent court. They were solicitors, and were related to a person suspected of murder who was thought to have fled the country. The officers were looking for evidence that . .
CitedA and Another, (On the Application of) v The Central Criminal Court and Another Admn 26-Jan-2017
(As redacted) Search warrants were challenged on the grounds that insufficient care had been taken of the possibility of the presence of privileged and or ‘excluded’ material. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Legal Professions

Updated: 23 November 2021; Ref: scu.513735