Queensland Law Society

QLS unveils ground-breaking search warrant guidelines to assist police

Date 28 Feb 2017
Contact Tony Keim
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

The state’s peak professional legal body will today (TUES FEB 28) launch its historic Search Warrant Guidelines – designed to assist solicitors and police when a search warrant is executed on solicitors’ premises.

Queensland Law Society president Christine Smyth and immediate past president Bill Potts will release the ground-breaking guidelines at a function at Old Government House in Brisbane’s CBD.

The initiative, driven by then QLS president Bill Potts and endorsed by QLS Council, was undertaken to produce guidelines to be followed and the obligations to be met by Queensland police and solicitors when executing a search warrant on solicitors' premises.   

“The execution of search warrants by police on solicitors’ offices causes problems for the police, practitioner and the public,’’ Mr Potts said.

“These vary from access to documents, interference in the running of practices, and potential access to client documents without due cause.

“This process has been regulated by guidelines agreed to last century. It has been left behind by the passage of time and, in any case, was not comprehensive in its coverage of the issues involved."

Ms Smyth said over the past two years there had been reported instances of protracted proceedings arising out of uncertainty on the obligations in this process.

“QLS is excited to be leading the profession by initiating the authoring of the new guidelines, which will bring certainty to its subject area and ensure the rights of all participants are protected according to law as well as the ethical obligations of both practitioners and police," she said.

Ms Smyth said the initiative could not have been so effectively completed without the full cooperation of the Queensland Police Service and tireless efforts of drafting the guidelines by QLS’s Justine van Winden.

“The Society and QPS have worked hard on this special project, taking input from members of our QLS Criminal Law Committee sub-committee," she said.

“In working with the Queensland Police Force on this project, we see our profession coming together to work for common good.’’

The guidelines will be launched during a ceremony at Old Government House, on the grounds of QUT’s Brisbane Garden’s Point Campus at 5pm.

The project was funded by the Law Claims Levy Fund.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, media@qls.com.au