Search warrant definition

What does Search warrant mean?

A search warrant is a judicial document authorising entry and or seizure of goods at a premises where the police act on suitably reliable and recent intelligence demonstrating a need for such entry without prior warning to the suspect.

A search warrant is usually granted by application to the local Justice of the Peace per section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, but the procedure is governed by Code B of that Act. Upon receiving intelligence that suggests the need for a warrant for search and seizure, the officer applying for that warrant must take reasonable steps to check the information is accurate, recent and not provided maliciously or irresponsibly. An application may not be made on the basis of information from an anonymous source if corroboration has not been sought. On this basis, the evidence is presented to the judicial authority, in writing, and the officer should be ready to answer questions on the object and need of the search, the address or addresses it is intended to cover, and the people it can be used against.

Discover our 85 Practice Notes on Search warrant

Dive into our 3 Precedents related to Search warrant

See the 2 Q&As about Search warrant

Read the latest 62 News articles on Search warrant

Search warrant is referenced 1 in UK Parliament Acts

Speed up all aspects of your legal work with tools that help you to work faster and smarter. Win cases, close deals and grow your business–all whilst saving time and reducing risk.

  Case studies

"LexisLibrary gives us the most relevant and recent cases and always has the latest information on them. It makes research so much easier. We're more cost-effective for our clients and more efficient each day"


Access all documents on Search warrant