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England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions >> Holman Fenwick Willan LLP, R (On the Application Of) v City Of London Police & Ors  EWHC 1005 (Admin) (07 April 2016)
Cite as:  EWHC 1005 (Admin)
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
London WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE MITTING
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF HOLMAN FENWICK WILLAN LLP||Claimant|
|(1) COMMISSIONER OF CITY OF LONDON POLICE|
|(2) CITY OF LONDON MAGISTRATES' COURT|
|(3) POLICE SERVICE OF SCOTLAND||Defendants|
WordWave International Limited
Trading as DTI
8th Floor, 165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7404 1424
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Mr Mark Thomas (instructed by City of London Police) appeared on behalf of the First Defendant
Mr Ben Keith (Instructed by the Government Legal Department) appeared on behalf of the Third Defendant
The Second Defendant did not attend and was not represented
Crown Copyright ©
i. "The Endorsement was granted pursuant to section 4 of the Summary Jurisdiction (Process) Act 1881 ('the 1881 Act') and purported to authorise the execution of the Warrant at the London offices of HFW ('the Offices'). Officers of the Police Service of Scotland ('PSS') and the City of London Police ('COLP') purported to execute the Warrant at the Offices on 9 December 2015. Some 47 boxes of materials were removed from the offices as a result of the search, despite the fact that HFW maintained claims to privilege over much of that material on behalf of its clients (as at least PSS and the Crown Office and Prosecutor Fiscal Service ('COPFS') knew even prior to their attendance at the Offices on 9 December 2015). Indeed the materials removed from the Offices included privileged and confidential documents relating to matters which were unrelated to the criminal investigation in respect of which the Warrant was obtained and which fell outside the scope of the Warrant)."
(1) The search warrant was issued, endorsed and executed without prior notice to Holman Fenwick Willan. On the materials before us this was so notwithstanding the fact that Holman Fenwick Willan had been in communication with the third defendant and/or the fourth defendant (as I shall refer to the Crown Office and Prosecutor Fiscal Service) since 2013 in relation to these matters. Before us today Mr Sturman QC, for Holman Fenwick Willan, submitted that the third and/or the fourth defendant had dug their heels in since 2013 - and indeed their conduct in December 2015 reflected an entrenched but erroneous view held since 2013.
(2) The warrant contained no reference to privileged documents, nor was any procedure stipulated for dealing with the question of legal professional privilege ("LPP") in executing the warrant. This was so despite the obvious issues which arose as to privilege given the seizure of documents from a firm of solicitors.
(3) Neither the third defendant, the fourth defendant nor the first defendant had arranged for the presence of independent lawyers during the search, notwithstanding the observations in R (Rawlinson & Hunter Trustees) v Central Criminal Court  EWHC 2254 (Admin);  1 WLR 1634 at  - .
(4) In the event, some seven police officers - two from the first defendant described as "chaperones" and five from the third defendant - attended very conspicuously at the Holman Fenwick Willan office. They seized no less than 47 boxes of documents, including, it is alleged by Holman's, documents for which privilege is claimed in connection with the matter in question and documents for which privilege is claimed relating to other cases, which have nothing whatever to do with the matter in question. These allegations enjoy the support of the Commissioners, i.e., the independent counsel instructed by the Scottish court to look into the question of what documents were seized and to report to the court in Edinburgh.