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A search order is a type of mandatory injunction in which the court orders the defendant to allow the claimant to enter the defendant's premises to look for or remove evidence that could be essential to the claimant's case. They are most frequently used in cases relating to breach of copyright or fraud.
Search orders can have serious ramifications upon the defendant and the order should only be made where there is no alternative. Ormrod LJ in Anton Pillar KG v Manufacturing Processes Ltd 1976 laid down a three-stage test for the granting of an order:
- Extremely strong prima facie case
- Very serious actual or potential damage
- Clear evidence of incriminating documents and a real possibility that he may destroy them.