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Rude awakenings

Following the dawn raids on the Tchenguiz brothers, John Bramhall and Maria Wozniak turn the spotlight on the courts' power to authorise search orders and search warrants

16 May 2011

More than 130 police officers and investigators were involved in the dawn raids on the homes and business premises of Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz as part of the SFO’s criminal investigations into the 2008 collapse of Kaupthing Bank.

Raids of this nature are authorised by order of the court, known as ‘search orders’ in civil claims and ‘search warrants’ in the criminal context. They are made without notice, such that a defendant is unlikely to know he is even being investigated until someone arrives at his door armed with such an order. The effect is dramatic. Consequently there are strict criteria to be met by the claimant before the court will authorise a raid.

Criminal claims

A search and seizure warrant pursuant to section 352 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 authorises the search of premises and seizure of material where production orders are not complied with, or where production orders are likely to be ineffective. A produc...

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