Dawn Raids | Fieldfisher
Skip to main content

Dawn Raids

Governments and regulators now have more powers than ever to search company premises and private homes and to seize documents and data, in what are known as dawn raids.

They are used by a wide range of authorities to investigate potential breaches of the law, including suspected infringements of competition law.  In the UK, competition dawn raids may be carried out by the Competition and Markets Authority or a sectoral regulator with concurrent powers.  They have the power to enter a firm's premises (and in some cases private homes) and seize or make copies of documents and collect electronic data.  There are equivalent or similar powers held by the European Commission and each other national competition authority.

Since Covid-19 restrictions eased, dawn raids in the UK and EU have increased sharply, as authorities clear the backlog from the pandemic and become more sophisticated in their approach, using data, AI, analytics, mobile devices and the cloud to identify relevant evidence in a raid.

Although they might not necessarily take place at dawn, a dawn raid by its very nature should be a surprise. No-one can predict if or when it could happen to you, but we can help you to minimise the risks, prepare for it and be on hand to respond, as well as work with you on any proceedings that may arise from it.

Most organisations are unprepared and unaware of what to do when raided. A dawn raid can be an intense and difficult experience and cause significant business disruption.  It may also signal the start of protracted proceedings, potentially leading to fines, damages actions and individual penalties. Taking precautionary and preparatory steps to ensure the interests of your business and your staff are protected is therefore critical.