Dawn Raids, Search and Seizure

"They're one of the firms that is right at the top of the scale. They're very experienced in handling the big cases. They're extremely well resourced and I've never had anything other than a good experience with them."

Chambers UK 2020 - A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Sometimes the first a person knows of a criminal investigation is when investigating officers arrive at their home or office armed with a search warrant demanding entry. Warrants are court orders which permit the officers to enter premises and search them for property of a kind described in the warrant. If the officers find that property, they can seize and retain it.

It is not just the police who can apply for search warrants: they can be obtained by many other investigators such as the SFO, FCA, HMRC, ICO and the CMA. Frequently arrests will be made and restraint orders will be served when search warrants are executed. Searches can therefore mark the start of the long process in which a client will have to deal with the various issues thrown up by the investigation.

Sometimes called a “dawn raid” because of the time of day most warrants are executed, a search is at best un-settling and at worst a traumatic event. However upsetting the experience, it is important to keep a clear head and to seek immediate legal advice. We have extensive experience of such situations, and can mobilise quickly. We ensure our clients’ rights and interests are protected, while minimising as far as possible the adverse impact on them and their businesses.

How we can help

  • We will deploy staff immediately to check the validity and scope of the search and to advise on the protections available.
  • Where necessary, we will monitor the search to ensure that the investigators do not exceed the scope of the warrant, for example by seizing material to which they are not entitled such as any attracting legal professional privilege.
  • Once the investigators have gone, we can obtain a copy of the information the investigators put before the judge when obtaining the warrant and then challenge the warrant’s legality. We can also help manage the fall-out from the search, guiding our clients through reputation management challenges, regulatory obligations, employment-related issues and securing the return of seized property.  
  • We also help our clients, whether individuals or a companies, prepare for the possibility of a dawn raid.    

Our approach

We offer cool and calm advice in stressful situations, ensuring that our clients’ rights are fully protected at a time when they are most under threat. 

We deal with issues requiring immediate solutions through to devising a considered strategy to see clients through the longer term, assembling a team of the right experts– drawn from our criminal, regulatory, civil, employment or reputation management specialists – to support them.

There is no single blueprint for dealing with a search operation and its aftermath but whether the investigator’s target is an international business or an individual, our clients can be assured that we have the skills and experience to give them the advice they need.  

For more information, please contact a member of our specialist team.

What clients and directories have said about us

Leading practice in the representation of individuals in regulatory investigations or enforcement actions, drawing upon significant strength in employment, criminal and white-collar law to offer a complete service in the area. Highly experienced in cases involving issues such as insider trading and mis-selling of products. Also assists individuals under investigation for alleged market manipulation and anti-competitive behaviour."

Chambers UK 2020 - A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession

...'The team provides excellent advice to clients at the police station as to whether to answer questions in interview. Their trial preparation is meticulous'...

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession


Excellent white-collar crime and fraud firm covering all key UK regulators.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

A premier outfit for individuals under regulatory investigation."

Chambers UK 2021

The firm is well known as a blue-chip firm for white-collar crime that represent individuals investigated for tax fraud also.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

Bright and dedicated lawyers."

Chambers UK 2021

Deep bench of experienced lawyers with an approachable style.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

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