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Private Investigators: Privilege and Privacy Legislation

  • July 10, 2017
  • by Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc
  • Articles

Private investigators these days often work with legislators to help gather evidence for some cases; however, not all data can be legally used against fraudsters or to help bring forth justice. How so? Privilege and privacy legislation can come into play and render garnered data useless. We’ll talk more about this in detail below.

What Once Was

Back in the day, private investigators can simply dig and look for sensitive information whichever way they want or need to do. It is also not uncommon to see private investigators gather data by dumpster diving in movies, television shows, and even novels. No one questions how the information was obtained as long as the data can be verified as true. Once sensitive data comes to light, being able to sniff it out was just attributed to a private investigator’s trade secrets.

Times Have Changed

Nowadays, private investigators can still dig for case-specific data and other sensitive information; however, the issue of whether the data gathered is usable or can be brought up in legal proceedings depends on whether the information obtained went through the proper legislative and bureaucratic proceedings.

Yes, gone are the days when counsel can simply look the other way regarding a private investigator’s conduct. Believe it or not, if a lawyer used the services of a private eye who cares not for sticking to legal ways of getting valuable data, the lawyer may find himself/herself in hot water in the future.

Privilege & Privacy

Litigation Privilege in Uncovering Information

Note that not all work product from work conducted by private investigators (that were hired by lawyers) is covered by litigation privilege. Laws may be different depending on where the data is obtained from and for which use it is intended for as well as if the private investigator was hired for the dominant purpose of uncovering information regarding a specific case or if the private investigator was hired as a retainer.

If there is no litigation privilege, then any information uncovered during the investigation may be subject to disclosure. This is why it is important to clarify which work a private eye is getting hired for from the get go. In this instance, having everything on paper is the best course of action to avoid problems later on.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Privacy Legislation

Shielding someone’s personal data has become more complicated in recent years. Current privacy legislation can make it trickier to obtain someone’s personal information unless the right paperwork was filed prior. This can present a problem when some case-specific information has been found out through surveillance, dumpster diving, or by other similar means.

The other party can claim that there has been an invasion of privacy to render the garnered data null and inadmissible in court. Cases like this are on the rise and make it all the more important to hire a private investigator who knows the law and its technicalities and is able to make it work in favor of your case.

Hiring a Private Investigator for A Case

The work of a properly-instructed private investigator can be an invaluable tool in building a case against someone or for weakening the claims of plaintiffs. Every effort must be taken to make sure that no breach of privacy or the law has been committed during the private investigator’s work to ensure that all data obtained will be usable. In this regard, hiring a private investigator who’s updated with current best practices is an investment that pays long-term returns.


Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc is a Full-Service Private Investigator and Surveillance Firm, with offices conveniently located in Toronto and Mississauga Ontario. They offer Professional Investigation Services for Corporations and Private Individuals throughout the Entire Greater Toronto Area.


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