Carrying out an investigation

In the course of carrying out an investigation, the Commission is able to use certain statutory powers to assist it in gathering information and evidence about the behaviour it considers is in breach of the Fair Trading Act.

These powers enable the Commission to:

  • require businesses and individuals to provide information and documents
  • obtain and execute search warrants.

Power to obtain information

The Fair Trading Act gives the Commission power to require a person or business to:

  • supply in writing any specified information or class of information
  • supply any specified document or class of documents
  • to appear before the Commission at a specified time and place to give evidence, either orally or in writing, and supply any specified document or class of documents.

Search warrant powers

The Fair Trading Act gives the Commission the power to obtain and execute search warrants.

A search warrant, issued by the District Court, means that the Commission may:

  • search specified places, search for and remove goods, documents, computer records and other items
  • enter premises with force if necessary
  • obtain assistance in the search from, for example, the police or computer experts.

The occupier or person in charge of the premises to be searched has to provide the Commission with reasonable facilities and assistance when a search warrant is executed. This includes assisting in:

  • identifying and locating the information required
  • reproducing information stored or recorded (such as computer records).

The Commission is able to take criminal action against any person who resists, obstructs or delays the Commission in executing a search warrant.

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