Friday, April 20, 2007

Rights of Entry

We had a brief hiatus in our business yesterday, and the usher asked if we would mind dealing with an application for a Rights of Entry warrant. Gas and electricity companies can ask a magistrate to grant them the right to enter private premises when no other method of gaining access is practicable. The application has to be made on oath, and backed by full information as to why a warrant is necessary. We routinely ask the applicant to confirm that all relevant Codes of Practice (which cover such things as elderly young or infirm people who might be in the premises)will be followed. The companies have to have this power because gas and electricity are potentially dangerous fuels and they must be able to ensure safety. The grant of a warrant is a judicial decision, and we are careful not to rubber-stamp the applications, but to examine each one on its merits. We don't refuse many, but it does happen. It's a small and unglamorous part of the job, but it's an important protection to the householder or businessman's rights in his property as well as a safeguard to life and limb.

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