Rumours of a rise in fraudulent claims following human rights legislation which could ban covert surveillance have been dismissed by law firm Weightmans.

The firm also scotches suggestions that private investigators will soon become obsolete.

Surveillance evidence obtained without an individual's consent is said to breach Article 8, the right to respect for private life, and that admission of such evidence may breach Article 6, the right to a fair trial.

Weightmans believes though that the public interest in preventing fraud must outweigh the individual's right to privacy.

Partner Kevin Fletcher commented: "Although Article 8 - the right to respect for private life - technically only applies to public bodies and therefore excludes insurers, in a dispute between private individuals the court would throw out evidence on the grounds of breach of convention rights.

"However, if a defendant - such as an insurer - has gained evidence through surveillance which shows a claim to be fraudulent then it is likely this evidence will be admitted."