Area of Law: Fraud and Fraud Recovery
Answer # 1526
Anton Piller Orders - civil search warrantsRegion: Ontario Answer # 1526
What is an Anton Piller Order?
An Anton Piller Order is a court order that provides the right to search premises and seize evidence without prior warning. It is essentially a civil search warrant.
The Order takes its name from a case involving a manufacturer, Anton Piller, whose proprietary information, plans and drawings were in possession of an agent who was secretly negotiating to sell them to another manufacturer. To preserve the confidential information and prevent infringement of the copyright, the Court of Appeal made an order giving Anton Piller the right to search the agent’s premises.
Anton Piller Orders are generally made in cases of alleged trademark, copyright, or patent infringements, as well as in civil fraud cases.
Appointing an Independent Supervising Solicitor (ISS)
The courts have ruled that any law firm seeking an Anton Piller Order must retain an Independent Supervising Solicitor (ISS) to execute it. The ISS must be independent of the plaintiff or its solicitors, and is to be present at the search to ensure its integrity.
The Court has identified the following protections for those subject to Anton Piller Orders:
- A carefully drawn Order setting out the safeguards to those subject to it.
- A vigilant court appointed supervising solicitor who is independent of the parties.
- A sense of responsible self-restraint on those executing the Order.
As the issuance of Anton Piller Orders has become more frequent, it is important that the following factors always be considered:
- How serious of an intervention an Anton Piller Order is in the privacy and rights of the defendants;
- The need to respect privacy and the rules of the adversary system of dispute resolution, must be understood by counsel;
- How important the execution of Anton Piller Orders is to the administration of justice;
- Appropriate sensitivity for the defendant’s rights must be exercised by solicitors who accept the responsibility for supervising the execution of search and listing Orders;
- In the enforcement of the Order, plaintiffs must act with due prudence; and
- The ISS acting as an officer of the Court, must exercise independent judgment, prudence, and respect for the defendants’ rights.
Executing an Anton Piller Order
The execution of an Anton Piller Order involves four phases: planning, execution, reporting, and evidence continuity. Planning the execution of an Anton Piller Order beforehand is crucial.
For assistance with Anton Piller Orders, contact a fraud recovery expert to ensure that the Order is:
- drafted properly,
- presented in a way that will obtain the intended results, and
- executed peacefully and properly.
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