Frequently Asked Questions

Civil investigation is the conduct of non – criminal investigations. In Australia we have police who handle all aspects of criminal investigation, and despite what you read in sensationalized headlines, the police are very successful at it.

Non – criminal investigations involve matters such as Insurance, Sexual Harassment, Work Place Bullying and Internal Corporate Investigation.

The differences are police are involved with Criminal law – involving offences against the legislation of the State (e.g. rape, stealing) and this is applied on the criminal burden of proof, “Beyond a reasonable doubt”. The two parties are referred to as: Prosecutor vs Accused, if the accused is found guilty, punishment is determined.

Civil law – involves one person enforcing their private rights against another (e.g. breach of contract). This will be determined by a court, applying the civil burden of proof, “Balance of Probabilities”. The Law of Torts is applied in these matters. The two opposing parties are referred to as: Plaintiff vs Defendant, if Negligence is determined, damages are awarded.

A beginner entering the industry must know how to conduct these investigations:

  • Workers Compensation
  • Motor Vehicle Accident (CTP Liability)
  • Public Liability
  • General insurance
  • Surveillance
General Insurance Investigation because it is the most common form and thus there is a large demand Australia wide for it.

General Insurance is any form of Investigation that falls under the Insurance Contracts Act. It includes such investigations as:

  • Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation
  • Home Burglary
  • Any form of Home Contents Public Liability

A vehicle is stolen every six minutes in Australia . There are many reasons they are stolen. The vehicles that are Insured are the ones we, as investigators are interested in. Yes the police take details and file reports, but Insurers have a vested interest in ensuring the authenticity of stolen motor vehicle claims, and that is our task.


It’s all in your Certificate III Investigations course. If it is not in your course then don’t do the course.


OK as the investigator in these matters, you will conduct a Record of Interview with the Insured owner. You will request relevant documentation, interview and take a statement from any witnesses, and if the vehicle is recovered, inspect the scene and the vehicle. You will then provide a report to the Insurance Company.


A Record of Interview is a method of interviewing a person that simply asks a question, and records the answer to the question, written or recorded. It is very specific and similar to a police interview.

A statement is a narrative account by a witness regarding what they saw, touched, tasted, smelt, and heard or any combination of those.

No you may conduct interviews in several formats, Records of Interview and Statements are just two ways. You may conduct very informal interviews and eliminate witnesses without writing or recording anything.


No, only on American Television, and perhaps in America they may in certain situations, where investigators are quasi police.

A Private Investigator is not a judge and jury. Most importantly no citizen has the power to take a life, threaten harm against any other person act above the law. If any one is thinking that by becoming a Private Investigator they will solve other people’s problems they should consider an alternative career. Private Investigators do not fix things. They simply collect and present facts.

No quite the contrary. No two days are the same and the work is challenging and interesting. If you enjoy variety, have an inquiring mind and the ability to get people to relax and tell you things, you can be a very successful investigator.

Starting quite early about 7.00 am the investigator would drive to an accident scene, and make an inspection. This may include taking measurements, photographs and locating local witnesses. Then following that a series of interviews may be held with witnesses and relevant people to where the accident occurred.

Currently Clients are asking their investigators to return all instructed investigations within 14 days. This is a significant decrease in time, as previously it was 21 days.

In other recent developments, investigators are now being asked to confirm instructions directly with the Client, by email within 24 hours and confirm the first appointment as instructed within 48 hours, and give investigation updates every 3 days.

All this is being done by email, and the Clients are issuing instructions by email. Emailed instructions and reports represent significant time saving, for the client.

But don’t throw away your fax machine just yet!

Yes. Tenders are still the flavour of the month, for securing permanent Investigation Panel Membership. As an investigator it is important to have a portfolio for the tender process, for the Investigation Agency you sub contract for. This includes:

  • Up to date resume
  • Certified copies of your qualifications
  • Current investigation license details
  • Copies of previous licenses
  • Drivers license
  • Criminal history
  • RTA driving history
  • Public liability insurance
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Equipment list