Powers to search premises and property in Scottish criminal investigations
Produced in partnership with Paul Marshall, Partner, Ramsay Hall, Associate and Adam McCabe, Senior Solicitor of Brodies LLP
Powers to search premises and property in Scottish criminal investigations

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Paul Marshall, Partner, Ramsay Hall, Associate and Adam McCabe, Senior Solicitor of Brodies LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Powers to search premises and property in Scottish criminal investigations
  • Search under the terms of an arrest warrant
  • Search by consent
  • Search where urgency dictates
  • Search warrants
  • Challenging Scottish search warrants

This Practice Note explains the powers to search premises and property during a criminal investigation in Scotland. It also covers the scope for challenging search warrants in Scottish criminal investigations.

For information on obtaining search warrants issued by the criminal courts in England and Wales, see Practice Notes: Obtaining and executing a search warrant under PACE 1984, Obtaining excluded material and special procedure material under PACE 1984, Search of premises and Seizure and retention of property.

The main powers of search of premises and property in Scotland can be split up into the following categories:

  1. under the terms of an arrest warrant

  2. by consent

  3. where urgency dictates, and

  4. under the authority of a search warrant

Search under the terms of an arrest warrant

Where the Crown decides to bring proceedings on either summary complaint or petition, the terms of the complaint or petition itself will grant warrant to search for and apprehend (arrest) the accused.

For information on how criminal proceedings are commenced in Scotland, see Practice Note: An introduction to Scottish criminal procedure.

The complaint or petition also grants warrant for the accused to be searched as well as the house and premises in which they may be found and to secure evidence relevant to the alleged crime and gives the power to open lockfast places for that purpose.

Once the police are carrying

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