"A necessary but dangerous class": Early private investigators in Australia

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From the 1880s private investigators begin to appear on the Australian legal landscape. Commonly known as private detectives the name itself proves contentious. Private investigations in Australia is a profession built on divorce laws which focused on finding fault. In such a social climate private investigations become an unwelcomed necessity. Without regulation or licencing private investigators tend to adopt dubious practices such as blackmail, trespass and perjury. Calls to regulate the industry came early from the judiciary which had come accustomed to private investigators giving evidence. It took legislators a little over sixty years to begin introducing regulation and licencing. The delay is in part because Police refused to acknowledge such a profession existed. By licencing and regulating the occupation, it gave it legitimacy and set the foundations for a more professional class.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-39
Number of pages12
JournalSalus Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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