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Shredded Paper

Ever heard of an Anton Piller Order?

In Court proceedings, often times the parties involved don’t have all the documents they need in order to prove their case. For that reason, subpoenas can be issued, which compel the person or company on the receiving end to produce documents to court. However, not everyone complies with subpoenas, despite them being an order of the court. It is not unknown for documents to quickly find their way into the shredder, and for computer hard drives to be erased.

In those situations, it can be important to move quickly, and secretively, so as not to alert your target. The court has the power to make an Anton Piller order (or rather, as it is now known in NSW, a “search order”) that permits an appointed person (often in the company of an officer from the NSW Sheriff) to enter private premises and seize documents, computers, and other material relevant to the case. Since such an order involves the invasion of another’s privacy, a person applying for an Anton Piller order will need to prove that there is a real possibility that evidence will be destroyed.

The name comes from the English decision of Anton Piller KG v Manufacturing Processes Ltd [1976] Ch 55.

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