Law Society of BC Model Anton Piller Order

The Law Society of BC has issued a Notice to Profession asking for comments on a proposed model Anton Piller order. A copy of their draft proposed 19-page model order is here in PDF (and I hope to review it shortly).

As stated in their draft documentation:

This Model Order is prepared in response to comments of the Supreme Court of Canada in Canadian Bearings Ltd. et al. v. Celanese Canada Inc. et al, 2006 SCC 36, which endorsed the development of model civil search and seizure Orders (a.k.a “Anton Piller” Orders) in Canadian jurisdictions. This draft is intended to provide guidance to the British Columbia bench and bar solely with respect to Orders for search, seizure and preservation of evidence and not Orders that combine search and seizure relief with other remedies.

Who is Anton Piller and what did he do to deserve model orders being developed in his name? Well, in fact, Anton Piller was a German manufacturer of electric motors and generators who in the mid-1970’s had concerns that corporate defectors were providing its competitors with with drawings and materials and other confidential information. Based on the evidence they presented to court of their concerns, they obtained an order to search the premises of the alleged wrongdoer – see: Anton Piller KG v Manufacturing Processes Limited, [1976] Ch. 55 (C.A.). Ever since, the courts have sought to strike a balance between the need to preserve evidence that risks being destroyed versus the rights of persons to not have their personal property arbitrarily searched and seized. In most typical situations where an Anton Piller may be required, there is some urgency involved. As such, there is some certainty to the parties involved knowing that a “pre-approved” model order is being sought.

As a knowledge manager working in law, I benefit greatly from such initiatives for model orders and am glad this work is being done. The Law Society of BC also has excellent checklists and practice resources.


  1. The draft order fully reflects the existing law, but it still is, nevertheless inadequate to its purpose.

    Remember that this is likely to authorize a pre-dawn entry onto premises, with perhaps a security guard at the gate.

    If ever there was a time for plain language drafting, documents that:
    * have serious consequences
    * that will be read under conditions of stress,
    * by non-legally trained persons
    * with limited access to lawyers
    the Anton Pillar model order seems to be one.

    Once this is embraced as a precedent, it will be cranked out repeatedly.

    BC should take the time now to ensure that the document is comprehensible.