Obtaining and executing a search warrant under PACE 1984
Obtaining and executing a search warrant under PACE 1984

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Obtaining and executing a search warrant under PACE 1984
  • Search for unlawful articles as opposed to evidence
  • Search for evidence under PACE 1984
  • Action to be taken before an application is made
  • Making an application for a search warrant
  • Reliance on public interest immunity material (PII) in applications for warrants
  • Issue of search warrants under PACE
  • Challenging the issue of search warrants
  • Applications under CJPA 2001, s 59
  • Execution of warrants

Searches of premises during criminal investigations may be conducted on the authority of a warrant issued by a court, or without warrant under a number of statutory powers. Many of these powers are governed by the Part II of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE 1984) and Code B of the PACE 1984 Codes of Practice.

For information on the search of premises on and after arrest under PACE 1984, ss 18 and 32, see Practice Note: Search of premises without warrant.

Search warrants under PACE 1984 may be obtained under either section 8 or 9 (excluded material and special procedure material). For detailed analysis on warrants obtained in accordance with PACE 1984, s 9, see Practice Notes: Obtaining excluded material and special procedure material under PACE 1984 and Excluded material and special procedure material under PACE 1984—applications and challenges.

Note that there is no priority or preference between the use of the search warrant procedure (under PACE 1984, ss 8–9) and the use of the post-arrest search powers (under PACE 1984, ss 18 and 32). These are separate search powers, which have distinct criteria which must be met before the powers can be used. So where the criteria for both processes can be fulfilled, then it is a matter of choice which power to use.

A search warrant may only be