Note: The resource cited in this refers to Ontario law.
The law governing search and seizure is notoriously complex and fluid. The law governing lawyer-client privilege is similarly intricate. Merging these two areas of law – which happens when law enforcement shows up to execute a warrant at a law office – can lead to conflicting obligations.
If you find yourself in this predicament, you should visit the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Resource Centre and carefully follow the instructions in this great article:
Search and Seizure Checklist Redux: What to Do When the Police Arrive to Search a Law Office. It provides detailed step-by-step guidance to Ontario lawyers and their staff on how to deal with a search warrant purporting to authorize the search of a law office.
Better yet – especially if you think you might find yourself in this predicament given the nature of the work you do and your clientele – read through this article now so you know what to expect and are better prepared to respond in the event law enforcement comes calling at your office with a warrant.