PDA

View Full Version : Searching a home under English law



MarkEsq
12-24-2009, 04:56 AM
I know the law pretty well here in the US (okay, Texas!) but have no idea about search and seizure issues in the UK.

In my WIP, the police want to search a hotel room, against the wishes of the hotelier. MY MC has the key and will do it anyway, but there are cops on scene so he may have to be sneaky.

So, can I assume he would, in theory, need a search warrant signed by a judge? And am I right in thinking you guys don't have the exclusionary rule there?

Fran
12-24-2009, 06:10 AM
As far as I know, the polis can't search without a warrant unless they have reason to believe there are drugs on the premises. I don't know if you could work that in somehow. Otherwise anything they found would be inadmissable as evidence, but if that's not an issue for the MC it's not so important.

This may be wrong, though, so don't take my word for it. :)

Shakesbear
12-24-2009, 07:24 AM
Go here: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_rights/legal_system/police_powers.htm

and scroll down to Powers of Entry. A search warrant can be signed by a magistrate or a Justice of the Peace. Not sure if judges do sign them.

waylander
12-24-2009, 12:05 PM
They need to have some reason to apply to a magistrate for a warrant. Obviously an experienced officer would know which magistrate is more likely to sign a warrant without any awkward questions, but there has to be a paper trail (our police are highly bureaucratic).
The police might consider calling in the environmental health team from the local council to inspect the hotel with them. These guys have extensive powers of entry to commercial premises and would have the power to close the hotel immediately. What sort of hotel is this? The mere threat of a visit from EH might well be enough to ensure co-operation.

GeorgeK
12-24-2009, 11:27 PM
Do they even need a search warrant in England? They can still arrest you for "suspicion" there as far as I know so my guess (and it is just a guess) is that there, it's more of a procedural thing as opposed to a rule of law.

GeorgeK
12-24-2009, 11:32 PM
They need to have some reason to apply to a magistrate for a warrant. ...... These guys have extensive powers of entry to commercial premises and would have the power to close the hotel immediately. What sort of hotel is this? The mere threat of a visit from EH might well be enough to ensure co-operation.


What exactly is a magistrate and are they a dime a dozen or few and powerful?

waylander
12-25-2009, 12:47 AM
Magistrates are the first level of the justice system. These are 'respectable and well-thought of' lay persons sitting as a bench of 3 (aided by a clerk of the court), deciding on minor cases and acting as a filter for the next level of county court.

waylander
12-25-2009, 12:48 AM
Do they even need a search warrant in England? They can still arrest you for "suspicion" there as far as I know so my guess (and it is just a guess) is that there, it's more of a procedural thing as opposed to a rule of law.


Yes, they still need a warrant to enter private premises unless invited in.

MarkEsq
12-25-2009, 01:17 AM
Thanks waylander, I'll go with the threat of an EH team to coerce cooperation, that's perfect.

Thanks again!