Local law societies in the bigger cities are drawing up lists of supervising solicitors for Anton Piller orders.
Any solicitors experienced in using Anton Pillers are encouraged to consider joining such lists, from which they can be contacted by other lawyers who need an independent solicitor to act as supervisor.
The local lists, encouraged by the Law Society, follow a practice direction last summer from the Lord Chief Justice which recommended that supervising solicitors be appointed before judges grant Anton Pillers and Mareva injunctions.
While not mandatory, such appointments are increasingly being seen as an important step to ensure fairness for all the parties involved in the often stressful execution of such orders, says Suzanne Burn, secretary to the society's litigation committee.
“It is pretty heavy stuff, particularly when the person being searched has never been in
a situation like that before.”
Michael Seymour, Lovell White Durrant partner and president of the London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA), says: “There was concern that Anton Piller orders were being granted too frequently and executed too enthusiastically and that solicitors present were open to allegations of such behaviour from unscrupulous defendants.”
The LSLA will also be running its own list and those interested should contact Richard Fox of Kingsley Napley.
Supervising solicitors have a duty to the court, for which they write a report of the order's execution.
Fees for supervising solicitors are normally based on their hourly rate and paid as a disbursement, so can present a reasonable earning potential for solicitors.
“We have more people who want to put their names on the list than we have people with the appropriate experience,” says Seymour.