Solicitors are some of the busiest people in the country. Their work involves countless hours of research, paperwork and handling calls to and from clients and other parties. So understandably, they take all the help they can get, especially when it comes to some of the legwork that can take them away from the office.
When it comes to time-consuming work that needs a skilled hand – like making sure a person is found and served legal papers in a timely and correct fashion, or investigating a prosecution case to look for weaknesses, there are few better resources for a solicitor to turn to than private investigators.
Here’s some of the ways that a private investigator can be invaluable to a solicitors firm:
Serving legal papers
The act of serving legal papers to a person is called process serving, and it’s not as simple as knocking on someone’s door and handing them over.
If it was, then there’d be no need for solicitors to be paying for help – if they didn’t have time themselves then they could just post them, right?
Instead, there’s a strict process that needs to be followed, including making sure that a report and a Statement of Service is produced, which is a vital document for demonstrating that the right person did receive the documents. These documents and statements must be correct or it could undermine a court case and have it thrown out, wasting months of work on the solicitor’s part.
And that’s if the person being served (known as the respondent) is easy to find. Funnily enough, some people don’t like to be served legal papers and will go out of their way to avoid it if they can. A private investigator isn’t just well-versed in the proceedings of serving papers, but also in finding a respondent to serve them to.
And any good private investigator will do that in a timely and efficient manner – because a solicitor has enough of a task without having the patience (and money) to waste waiting for papers to be served.
Use EJM Investigations for your process serving and we’ll make sure any papers are personally served to your satisfaction, and equally as importantly, in a way that follows the regulations of the Civil Procedure.
Strengthening a criminal defence case (or weakening a prosecution one…)
Solicitors hired for criminal defence work will be exploring every avenue to both strengthen their own case and to uncover any holes in the prosecution’s case that might lead to the truth being revealed. But that’s a lot of work and solicitors need experienced help to cover all the angles.
Private investigators often have police backgrounds, which means they have a number of useful skills as an extra resource for a criminal defence solicitor.
PIs can look over the police investigations and identify where mistakes may have been made, or details overlooked. The police are as busy as solicitors and are not infallible – often a crucial detail can be uncovered by an experienced mind and set of eyes looking through an officer’s reports.
PIs are also experts at interviewing witnesses. There are many techniques involves in finding out the truth from witnesses, and a good private investigator knows how best to conduct those interviews to get the information needed.
Not only that, but a PI can possibly uncover more witnesses that may have seen what really happened. Or they can use their knowledge of surveillance to uncover new supporting evidence that might have been missed.
And almost as importantly, a reliable PI knows the right procedures in great detail, and can spot when they haven’t been followed. Any mistakes in the procedures followed by the prosecution could disqualify evidence.
Ultimately, it’s in criminal defence cases where a private investigator really earns that ‘investigator’ name. And that’s why so many solicitors prefer to use PIs to support them on criminal defence cases.
And again, at EJM Investigations we’ve got a wealth of police experience in our ranks and can support criminal defence lawyers in a number of ways. Not only that, but we ensure we work to the schedule and costs set by the client. We’re as efficient as possible and can agree budgets and fixed costs in advance, for a completely transparent service.
Taking legally-admissible witness statements
Just like certain procedures need to be followed in order for evidence to be admissible, the same is true of witness statements. You can’t just turn up at someone’s front door, stick an audio recorder in their face and assume that’s good enough as a legal statement.
There are different rules and regulations to consider both for civil and criminal cases, and a good private investigator understands what they are and what needs to be done to fulfil them.
This is so valuable to a solicitor because while they’re working on essential files or making phone calls, they can send a PI to meet a witness and complete their statement in a way that the solicitor can trust has been done correctly.
At EJM Investigations we’re happy to handle any witness statements that a solicitor might need, not only for civil and criminal cases but for things like insurance claims too. We’re professional, making sure to treat witnesses with respect, and we produce a high quality result that will serve the purpose for which it is needed.
Working with us
These are some of the most common ways that the EJM Investigations team have worked with solicitors in the past but that doesn’t mean that’s all we’re limited to. We’re happy to explore whatever help a solicitor may need, and can offer a wealth of expertise in following civil and criminal procedures and in various investigation methods.
If you’re a solicitor who is snowed under, or that just needs an experienced hand to tackle some of the tasks that need to be done correctly, give us a call on 01772 334700 and we can talk to you about options, timescales and budget.