Media Release: Immediate Distribution
PR Contact: Amanda Lacey, POPCOM
Mobile: 0418 448 570 Email: [email protected]

Sydney, 2020: Senior litigation lawyer from McCabe Curwood shares insights on how to respond to ACC “Dawn Raids”.

When granted with the necessary warrant, the ACCC has the power to conduct civil searches of your business, which essentially consists of them searching the premises and seizing documents and materials.

“These searches, otherwise known as “Dawn Raids” can cause a great deal of stress and confusion to businesses,” says Chiara Rawlins, Principal in the McCabe Curwood’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group. “Many business owners may not be aware of the scope of the ACCC’s powers and are unsure of their rights and obligations when these raids occur.”

So, what are your rights and obligations?

It’s important to understand that you are entitled to observe the search being conducted, but Rawlins notes that only to the point where it does not obstruct the search.

However, you are obligated to assist the executing officer and any officer assisting with all reasonable facilities and assistance so they can exercise their power effectively. You must also answer questions and provide evidential material, but only that relate to the warrant.

What should you do in a dawn raid?

Rawlins directs that when first presented with the search warrant, you should both review it and ask to make a copy for your own records. You should also look at the warrant carefully and ensure the time period on the warrant aligns with the time period of the search; certify those conducting the search are authorised to do so under the warrant; and that the premises stated on the warrant is in fact your premises.

“You may also ask to see a copy of [the raiders] ACCC identity cards and we recommend that you request to make photocopies for your records,” Rawlins adds, to ensure they are certified to conduct the raid. “If the answers to the above are “no”, you do not have to allow the ACCC access to your premises.”

When the warrant is first presented to you, Rawlins suggests you ask if they can wait for a short period of time before commencing the raid so you may obtain legal representation. If they refuse, it is important you do not impede on the search.

It is also important that you accompany the ACCC officers on their raid and record the documents they examine and the questions they ask.

Rawlins said: “If you are not sure why a document or question falls within the scope of the warrant, ask the ACCC officer and make a note of their answer. This will particularly be the case for documents or things that may be subject to legal professional privilege.

“The ACCC is not entitled to take documents that are subject to privilege, however do not withhold documents from the ACCC. Tell the ACCC officer you reserve your rights in relation to privileged documents and inform your lawyer that the ACCC may have taken possession of privileged documents.”

As discussed prior, it is crucial to be fully cooperative, answering all questions and providing any material related to the warrant.

“Make sure you ask the ACCC to provide you with copies of all documents seized and a receipt for everything seized before they leave,” says Rawlins.

For the full article visit the McCabe Curwood website Chiara Rawlins is a principal at Mccabe Curwood in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group and is available for interview. For more information on McCabe Curwood, please contact Amanda Lacey at [email protected]