Key Issues for Legal Counsel During a Search or Inspection

Once the authorities have arrived on-site to conduct a search or inspection, an organization should ensure that counsel arrives as quickly as possible. Authorities may be willing to delay the start of the search or inspection briefly to allow counsel an opportunity to reach the site, but they are not required to do so.

During a search or inspection, counsel should be prepared to deal with a wide range of issues under time pressure, including:

  1. Reviewing the authorization for the search or inspection and obtaining the underlying basis upon which it was issued (e.g., an Information To Obtain a search warrant — “ITO”)
  2. Engaging in communications with investigators, inspectors or Crown counsel
  3. Avoiding activities which could constitute obstructions of justice by the company and/or its employees
  4. Handling approaches from Whistleblowers
  5. Identifying where there is a requirement or a desire for independent counsel
  6. Responding to authorities’ efforts to question or detain employees
  7. Providing “upjohn” warnings prior to interviews or other substantive communications with employees
  8. Commencing an internal investigation
  9. Providing input on proposed internal or external communications plans