On 13 April 2017 the Parliament of Ukraine passed the Law “On Private Detective (Investigation) Activity” (hereinafter – the “Law”).
The Law sets up the legal framework and the principles governing the work of private detectives, lists the qualification requirements for pursuing the profession of private detective, regulates the organisation and execution of private investigative practice and identifies the actions, rights and duties of private detectives.
Under the new law, an individual must possess a degree in law in order to work as a private detective; have completed a relevant private detectives’ (investigation) training program or have at least three years of professional experience in law enforcement bodies; and obtain a license for performing private detective activity. The licensing and supervising body for private detectives’ activity is the National Police of Ukraine. The law also establishes the list of actions that private detectives can provide. In particular, private detectives will be able to:
- collect, record and investigate information required for court proceedings, under a contract with a party to the court proceedings (or the party’s counsel);
- analyse the market, search and collect business information from open data sources and conduct assessments of the financial solvency, assets and trustworthiness of potential business partners;
- clarify biographical information and other information concerning an individual (upon their written consent) with whom an employment contract or any other contract is being concluded in order to identify their business ties, including those with the client’s competitors in Ukraine and abroad;
- search for missing persons, determine the grounds for and circumstances of their disappearance, and search for people who have lost family ties or ties of friendship;
- search for missing (lost or stolen) property and animals;
- conduct measures to reproduce lost (missing) information as regards legal rights and the interests of the client;
- search for and collect data that could provide the basis for a client to apply to the court or law enforcement bodies to protect his or her rights and interests;
- detect illegal (unauthorised) collection of information which pertains to the commercial secrets of a client with the purpose of further using or disclosing said information, also detecting facts regarding the illegal (unauthorised) collection of confidential information on individuals;
- search for, identify and record cases where intellectual property rights belonging to the client are used illegally, as well as cases of unfair competition;
- search for debtors and those persons who do not fulfil their contractual obligations; and
- protect restricted information (commercial, industrial, professional secrets) belonging to the client.
According to the Law the private detectives are forbidden, inter alia, from:
- collecting data relating to the private life and political or religious opinions of a person without their written consent to such actions,
- collecting information on public authorities which constitutes information pertaining to a state secret; and
- taking operative investigative actions being within the exclusive competence of operative (law enforcement) divisions.
The long-awaited Law is the first regulation of private investigation activity to be issued since Ukraine became independent in 1991. Private investigators do currently exist in Ukraine, but their actions are not regulated by any kind of special provisions, which has resulted in many doubts about the legality of their actions and the legality of the information provided by such investigators. The Law eliminates these uncertainties and makes it clear which kinds of information are allowed to be collected and in which way.
Accordingly, the new law will allow businesses to purchase private detective services in a way that is much more compliant with the law than it is at the moment. Introducing of the licensing procedure will also allow ensuring better control over the quality of private detective services.
At the moment the draft law is awaiting signature by the President and will come into force six months after its official publication. Legislation: text of the draft law “On Private Detective (Investigation) Activity” No. 3726 (in Ukrainian), as prepared for the second reading.