Q&As

We are due to conduct a search order, but the premises at which it was due to be conducted have been closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and/or those due to be conducting the search have concerns about the virus. What steps can we take?

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Produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 23/03/2020

The following Dispute Resolution Q&A produced in partnership with Oliver Hilton of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • We are due to conduct a search order, but the premises at which it was due to be conducted have been closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and/or those due to be conducting the search have concerns about the virus. What steps can we take? 

We are due to conduct a search order, but the premises at which it was due to be conducted have been closed due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and/or those due to be conducting the search have concerns about the virus. What steps can we take? 

This Q&A concerns the enforcement and conduct of a search order against a respondent in respect of material contained on their computer equipment, and in particular asks what steps can be taken in three scenarios where:

  1. the premises at which the search is to be conducted are closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak,

  2. the respondent refuses entry on the basis that they are self-isolating, or

  3. those due to conduct the search have concerns about executing the search order because of the fear of becoming infected

The court has the power to authorise one party to enter the premises owned by another party (or prospective party) in civil proceedings, and to inspect or detain and preserve evidence relevant to, or property being kept there which is or may be the subject of proceedings. Formerly known as ‘Anton Piller’ orders by reference to the case of that name, the jurisdiction of the court to grant search orders now derives from section 7 of the Civil Procedure Act 1997 and CPR 25.1(1)(h).

Once the grounds are made out, the court will invariably make an order

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