Customs Act 1901


Division 1 - Powers of officers  

Subdivision C - Search warrants in respect of things believed to be evidential material  


A judicial officer may issue a warrant to search premises if the judicial officer is satisfied by information on oath that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that there is, or within the next 72 hours there will be, any evidential material, other than evidential material that is also a forfeited good, on or in the premises.


(a) the person applying for the warrant has, at any time previously, applied for a warrant relating to the search of, or the seizure of goods that are on or in, the same premises; and

(b) the premises are not a Customs place;

the person must state particulars of those applications and their outcome in the information.

If a judicial officer issues a warrant, the judicial officer is to state in the warrant:

(a) the offence to which the warrant relates; and

(b) a description of the premises to which the warrant relates; and

(c) the kind of evidential material that is to be searched for under the warrant; and

(d) the name of the authorised person who, unless he or she inserts the name of another authorised person in the warrant, is to be responsible for executing the warrant; and

(e) the time at which the warrant expires (see subsection (3A)); and

(f) whether the warrant may be executed at any time or only during particular hours.


The time stated in the warrant under paragraph (3)(e) as the time at which the warrant expires must be a time that is not later than the end of the seventh day after the day on which the warrant is issued.

If a warrant is issued at 3 pm on a Monday, the expiry time specified must not be later than midnight on Monday in the following week.

The judicial officer is also to state in the warrant:

(a) that it authorises the seizure of things (other than evidential material of the kind referred to in paragraph (3)(c)) found on or in the premises in the course of the search that the executing officer or a person assisting believes on reasonable grounds:

(i) to be evidential material in relation to an offence to which the warrant relates or to another offence, or to be evidential material (within the meaning of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ) or tainted property (within the meaning of that Act); and

(ii) not to be forfeited goods;
if the executing officer or person assisting believes on reasonable grounds that seizure of the things is necessary to prevent their concealment, loss or destruction or their use in committing an offence; and

(b) whether the warrant authorises an ordinary search or a frisk search of a person who is at or near the premises when the warrant is executed, if the executing officer or a person assisting suspects on reasonable grounds that the person has any evidential material or seizable items in his or her possession.


Paragraph (3)(e) and subsection (3A) do not prevent the issue of successive warrants in relation to the same premises.


If the application for the warrant is made under section 203M , this section (other than subsection (3A)) applies as if:

(a) subsection (1) referred to 48 hours rather than 72 hours; and

(b) paragraph (3)(e) required the judicial officer to state in the warrant the period for which the warrant is to remain in force, which must not be more than 48 hours.

A judicial officer of a particular State or Territory may issue a warrant in respect of the search of premises in another State or Territory.


This section is not to be taken to limit any power of search granted to an officer of Customs under any other provision of a law of the Commonwealth.


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