23 August 2005

Search Orders: Supervising Solicitors Wanted!

Search orders (aka "Anton Piller" orders or even "Laddie orders" in some parts of the world) are best described as civil search orders. They are a type of interim injunction granted by a chancery judge requiring the respondent to admit the persons named in the order into his or her premises and allow them to search for documentary or other material evidence. The purpose of the order is to catch "bad people" off their guard before they have had a chance to hide or destroy evidence.

It goes without saying that such a draconian remedy can easily be abused. Since the early 1990s the courts have imposed stringent safeguards on the grant and execution of such orders. One of those safeguards is to require the order to be executed by an experienced solicitor who is not connected with any of the parties called "a supervising solicitor". As search orders are usually required at very short notice, it is not always easy to find an experienced litigator near the premises that are to be searched who has done (or at least seen) the job before. For that reason, NIPC has maintained since 1999 a "Supervising Solicitor Panel" of solicitors whom we believe to be reliable.

So far, we have most of the North of England and a large part of East Anglia covered but we would like some contacts for London, South East England, the West Country, the Midlands and South Wales. Any experienced litigator in those areas who wants to come onto the panel should call our chambers manager Toni Wilson on 0870 990 5081 or email her at toni.wilson@nipclaw.com. He or she should provide a short CV setting out in particular his or her experience of search or Anton Piller orders. It can be profitable. Members of these chambers have been instructed in cases in which at least two members of our panel were selected and we know of at least one other case in which one of our panellists was chosen even though one of us was not briefed. We look forward to hearing from you.

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