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Surveillance Services: Why Lawyers Hire Private Investigators

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In Ontario, private investigators run different types of surveillance operations for many different reasons. It might surprise you to learn that lawyers hire private investigators all the time to set up surveillance on an individual.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have a private investigator tailing you right at this moment. A lawyer won’t just hire a private investigator for no reason. When a lawyer hires a private investigator for surveillance services, the main purpose is to gather information to help build a case for a client.

Building a Case

Lawyers work with many different clients on many different types of cases. Their primary goal is to find enough information and evidence to build a strategy. This strategy is what the lawyer will use to win in court. They will also prep their client with their strategy so that the client is aware of what will happen in court.

The problem is, building a case isn’t easy, especially when there isn’t much evidence. A lawyer needs facts to know how to build their strategy. If they don’t have the facts, chances are, the case won’t go in their client’s favor.

This is why lawyers turn to private investigators for help. A good private investigator will hit the pavement to uncover the facts. They can do research, interviews, surveillance and more to gather information that will help the case.

The Role of a Private Investigator in Surveillance

When it comes to surveillance, a lawyer needs to make sure they hire the right private investigator.

A good private investigator must go through training before they can receive their private investigator’s license. This training helps a private investigator gain the necessary skills to provide lawyers with services like surveillance.

Surveillance is one of the most difficult skills to master. A private investigator needs to get close to the individual to monitor their activity and behavior. At the same time, if a private investigator gets too close (or is spotted by the individual too many times) the case is ruined. The key to surveillance is going unnoticed so that the individual in question does not change or alter their behavior.

When it comes to running surveillance for a lawyer, it is so critical that the individual not notice. A lawyer cannot build a strategy if the behavior of the individual isn’t natural. The lawyer also needs to work with a private investigator that knows or understands what kind of evidence is admissible in court. After all, if the evidence isn’t gathered correctly, it will get thrown out of court. This will not help the lawyer win his or her case.

Types of Lawyer Surveillance Services

While the art of surveillance generally remains the same, the reason for surveillance differs greatly. The following types of services will provide a few examples of the kind of surveillance a private investigator will do for a lawyer.

Divorce: Catch a Cheating Spouse

For many people, marriage these days includes a prenuptial agreement of some kind. A lot of these prenuptial agreements include details about fidelity and infidelity. For example, if one of the individuals is caught cheating, the other can file for divorce and not pay the cheating spouse a cent.

So, in order to prove that an individual is cheating, a lawyer will often turn to a private investigator for help. As mentioned, lawyers don’t have the resources to check in on the suspected cheater on their own. They also don’t have the skills required to catch a cheater in the act. This is why they will hire a private investigator.

A private investigator will turn to many different resources to see if they can’t catch the cheater. He or she might talk to neighbors, friends, co-workers and family to see if they can’t uncover more information. The primary way in which to catch a cheater however, is definitely through surveillance.

Child Custody: Prove a Parent is Unfit

It’s no question that children require love and attention to live healthy lives. However, in some homes, this just isn’t the case. Many lawyers work with people who want to change their child custody agreement. The reason for this change is because the person believes their ex-partner isn’t fit to take care of a child.

There might be many reasons why a parent isn’t fit to look after a child. Some of these reasons include, abuse, drug abuse, neglect, and more. In these cases, a lawyer really needs a private investigator to run surveillance on the accused.

A private investigator will set up surveillance around the ex-parent. He or she will monitor the ex-parent’s activities to determine whether or not the ex-parent is acting appropriately. For example, let’s say that the ex-parent has the children over for the weekend, but on Saturday night, leaves the house alone and doesn’t return for 5 hours. The private investigator can indicate this information in their report and the lawyer can use it to build their case.

Hidden Assets

Hidden asset cases typically occur during divorce proceedings. It happens when one person in the divorcing couple goes through great lengths to hide money, property, jewelry, or any other item of monetary value.

The idea behind hiding assets is so that the total value of a person is much lower. The court will then require that individual to pay their spouse less than what they’re actually owed. Hiding assets is illegal and if caught, the person could face hefty fines.

A private investigator will use surveillance as one way to uncover hidden assets. While research helps, surveillance can reveal the location of the hidden assets. For example, an individual might make a sudden trip to the Caribbean. A private investigator will follow them there, and discover three different banks that the individual visits often.

A good private investigator will then use their skills to determine whether or not the individual has any hidden accounts in those banks. The private investigator might find that instead of money, the person is hiding jewelry in a safety deposit box. Either way, this information is invaluable to a lawyer. He or she can use it to build a strategy with their client.


Private investigators help lawyers will all types of fraud. While a lot of the work requires a private investigator to do research, surveillance is often involved.

For example, insurance companies in Ontario often discover questionable claims. Through their lawyers, these insurance companies hire private investigators. The private investigators set up surveillance to find out whether or not the person making the claim is lying or not. When the private investigator completes their surveillance, they provide this information to the insurance company’s lawyers. The insurance company lawyers then determine whether or not they have a case against the individual.

Ultimately, a lawyer needs a lot of information to help his or her client. A lawyer needs facts in order to build a strong strategy that will hold up in court. In order to achieve this successfully, hiring a private investigator, a good private investigator absolutely helps.

Do you or your firm require private investigation surveillance services? Our experienced team is ready to help! Contact us today for more information. or 416-479-8474

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Founder of The Smith Investigation Agency in 2014, Whitney Joy Smith’s extensive background as a private investigator is matched only by her passion for the role. A graduate of several respected institutions, including Northwest Florida State College and George Brown College, her early years in life were spent between Canada and the United States. This education, along with her formative years as a private investigator in various agencies, informed much of her knowledge of private investigative laws, regulations, and operating standards in both countries.

The recipient of numerous industry awards and accolades, including the Consumers Choice Award, Best in Ottawa, and many others, Whitney takes pride in working closely with her ever-growing agency to raise the bar, maintain compliance, and meet the investigative needs of clients. Whitney is active in various membership and supporting roles, including the CPIRC, CBN, CAPI, Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and many others. Her experience-driven, thought-provoking articles have been featured in everything from Readers Digest to Business News Daily, and she strives to continually redefine standards for those in the private investigative and security fields. Learn more about Whitney and the team at The Smith Investigation Agency today.

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