Understanding Claims Against Investigators
At Investigation Counsel Professional Corporation (“Investigation Counsel”), we defend private investigators and security agencies against civil actions, typically involving allegations of false arrest, negligent investigation or supervision, malicious prosecution, invasion of privacy, breach of Charter rights, defamation and assault. In addition, we represent private investigators at inquests and at agency licence reviews. Norman Groot, the founder of Investigation Counsel, is the author of the leading text on the law pertaining to private investigations (Canadian Law and Private Investigations, Irwin Law Inc.), and has defended claims on behalf of Ontario insurers who underwrite the private investigator and security industry for a number of years.
Law Enforcement Experience
Our previous experience in law enforcement allows us to readily establish a rapport and cooperation with police. Since many claims involving private investigators and security involve the police, our ability to communicate and negotiate with police services provides value to our clients, speciﬁcally with respect the cost reduction of claims. In addition, a positive relationship with the police is often a necessary business driver for reputable private investigation and security agencies.
Claims Relating to Undercover Activity
Often, the most serious private investigation cases involve undercover investigations. Mr. Groot was lead defence counsel in the Teskey v. Aston & Associates matter, a three week defamation and malicious prosecution trial which ultimately resulted in the dismissal of all allegations against the private investigation agency and their investigator. In addition, Mr. Groot successfully defended a private investigation agency in Canac v. Aston & Associates matter, involving allegations of false arrest, negligent investigation and malicious prosecution. This case is notable for the Court of Appeal’s decision on the tort of negligent investigation.
Retail Loss Prevention and False Arrest
Retail loss prevention arrests make up the majority of claims against private investigators and security. Many claims are commenced by counsel unfamiliar with the law and by unscrupulous plaintiffs who are liable for the underlying offence but managed to escape criminal liability. At Investigation Counsel, we have developed a system designed to effectively litigate and report on false arrest claims. This system allows our client to proceed to trial with minimal expense, in cases where the private investigator’s actions are bona ﬁde and promptly settling cases involving overly zealous investigators.
Surveillance Claims and Privacy Law
Investigation Counsel are experts in privacy law and its application to private investigations and security. We have experience litigating invasion of privacy claims relating to video, audio, computer and other forms of electronic surveillance. Investigation Counsel acts as counsel to the Canadian Association of Private Investigators (“CAPI”), the Counsel of Private Investigators –Ontario (“CPIO”) and the Canadian Association of Special Investigation Units (“CASIU” – insurance fraud investigators). Investigation Counsel successfully negotiated with Industry Canada the ‘Investigative Body’ designation pursuant to the private sector privacy legislation, PIPEDA.