Our Profession : Private Investigator – Private Detective

The French legal definition of private investigation


French legal definition: « The profession that consists in gathering, even without mentioning its quality or revealing the purpose of its assignment, pieces of information or evidences intended to third parties, in order to defend their interests. »
A private investigator is an investigator engaged or employed in obtaining information and/or evidence not easily available to the public.
The private investigator intervenes in particular according to stipulations of articles 1984 to 2010 of the French Civil code for the prevention or compensation of a prejudice.
In general terms, an investigator obtains evidence and/or facts that could help to solve a dispute before legal proceedings.

An investigation should rely on the following essential principles :

  • Legality
  • Legitimacy
  • Morality

Additionally, an investigator must carry out his tasks within the law and with due respect for the privacy of persons investigated.

The private detective is subject to professional confidentiality as defined by article 226-13 of the French Penal Code (March 1st 1994).

Further information :

« Histoire secrètes des Détectives Privés » © Editions Jean-Claude Lattes – 2001


Profession subject to State authorization issued by CNAPS, Ministry of Homeland Affairs.

LAW # 2003 – 239 of March 18th 2003 – Homeland Security Act (text in French)