Working with the Law

A legal reference book for civilian law enforcement in Australia.

Legal principles explained for private investigators - security guards - debt collectors - process servers, and everyone else...

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Working with the Law was conceived first with the Australian private investigation industry in mind. The intended readership has expanded since to incorporate the security guarding and debt collection industries throughout Australia. Eventually the scope was broadened further still to create a reference resource containing legal advice relevant to any member of the general public who has legal needs they wish to address WITHOUT the delay and expense that can be introduced by engaging legal representation. It may also at times be of value to those who need, in the face of police inaction, or the termination of a police investigation, to deal in a lawful manner with matters of concern.


This handbook is intended to assist the intelligent layman in the following ways:

  • To understand legal rights and obligations in terms of key laws of common application;

  • To assist the reader to avoid creating legal liability for themselves, or others, when undertaking preventative, investigative and enforcement activities, while still doing all that is lawfully permissible in fulfilment of objectives;

  • To gain confidence in dealing with legally sensitive issues;

  • To acquire skill in directing legal enquiries and creating an adequate body of evidence in matters where litigation is in contemplation;

  • To have basic knowledge of how to take action or act in defence, rather than being completely dependent on professional assistance.


The material herein is taken from well known cases and important legislation, from recent additions to the case law, from reputable legal texts, and from careful scholarship on the law. No corners have been cut in presenting issues that are of importance. However everything you will read here is presented in a succinct and pithy manner, making the overall scale of the work quite brief. This is achieved in part by not wasting the reader's time with fine points unlikely to be of value, or with mere conjectures. The intended readership is not comprised of lawyers and other speed-reading machines who actually have time and use for long winded presentations of barely-relevant minutiae. The intended readership are people who have use for legal knowledge, either as an aside, or support, to their normal work functions within the arena of civilian law enforcement, and who have particular matters of their own to take action on, in a lawful manner.




This handbook DOES NOT suffice for professional legal advice, and will NEVER empower the reader to represent themselves ably at court. It is strongly advised that if contrary advice is given by a practicing lawyer with experience in a relevant field of law, then such advice should be taken in preference. The reason is partly that this handbook makes no attempt to present every detail of the law, or to address all possible fact scenarios. It is also strongly advised that the reader should consult with a practicing lawyer whenever a matter with strong litigious potential arises, that legal representation should be obtained.



Andrew Pingree,

Juris Doctor, BA(Hons), Cert IV Investigative Services, Cert III Security Services;

Founder & Principal, Australian Legal Education & Commercial Intelligence.