Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A defense attorney & PI who also happen to be writers

  • Writing a Sleuth?

    A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths

    "How to Write a Dick is the best work of its kind I’ve ever come across because it covers the whole spectrum in an entertaining style that will appeal to layman and lawmen alike."

    Available on Kindle

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Can a Minor Hire a Private Detective?

Posted by Writing PIs on November 17, 2012

Today we’re answering a reader’s question: “Could a minor hire a private detective?”

Answer: A minor can hire a private detective so long as the minor’s request is legal.  In other words, just like with adults, a minor can’t hire a PI to conduct such illegal activities as harassment, stalking or  intimidation.  The minor must also have the ratification of the minor’s parents.  This flows from a rule of contract law pertaining to a minor’s ability to enter into binding contracts.  To paraphrase, this rule says that minors can enter into enforceable contracts so long as they have their parents’ assent.

Perhaps a more important question is:  Would a private investigator want to be hired by a minor?

A PI having his/her actions directed by someone under the age of 18 is exposing him/herself to liability and professional criticism.  If something were to go wrong during the investigation–say, an unexpected confrontation between the PI and the object of the investigation–there could be a challenge to the PI’s exercise of professional judgement.  Let’s say the object of the investigation, upset about the confrontation, files a professional negligence lawsuit against the PI, accusing him/her of harassment and invasion of privacy.  The plaintiff might use, as a damning circumstance, that this so-called “professional” PI was taking orders from a minor.  The PI could look bad, even very bad, in court when he/she admits they were working a case being directed by a teenager.

Great question!

Have a great week, Writing PIs

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