Private Investigators in France: frequently asked questions (FAQ)


The profession of private detective may raise some questions and its reality is quite different from the clichés created by movies and romans. We have put together some frequently asked questions by our customers, regardless of whether they are professionals or individuals.

💶 How much does it cost to hire a private investigator?
The cost of your investigation mainly depends on the time needed, the distance to travel and the required material resources. You can use our price simulator (in French) to get a first price estimation depending on your needs. At the end we will have to validate your investigation feasibility and send you a detailed price quote. There is no fee charged for the appointments in our offices or by phone.

🧾 Can I claim the reimbursement of the investigation fees?
In a legal proceedings in France, you may ask for the costs reimbursement by the losing party, include the private investigation fees. The judge can decide the reimbursement or not by the losing party. See our article about the possibility to get the investigation fees paid by the other party.

🌍 Where exactly do you investigate in France?
We are based in Lille and Dunkirk, in the North of France. For the missions which don’t include on-site investigation, such as open-sources investigation (OSINT), they can be done anywhere. Otherwise we investigate in the Hauts-de-France region, and mainly in the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments.

🏛 Are the private detectives reports admissible in Court? Is it risky to hire a private detective?
We make sure that our investigation reports respect the rules regarding providing evidence. We relate the facts with impartiality, respecting the individuals privacy and the principle of proof’s loyalty. We may also work together with your lawyer to define the best investigation strategy. For these reasons, our investigation reports can be used in a legal proceedings and will contribute to the defense of your interests.

🏭 Can you investigate an employee causing damage to my company?
We can totally investigate employees of your company. The investigation approach and strategy will be different depending on the legal framework and the mission’s purpose. In a criminal proceedings (theft, fraud, harassment), the evidence can be provided by any means. In a labour proceedings, we might be more cautious and the investigation may help to call a bayliff. Have a look to our main investigations for enterprises.

💔 I suspect my partner of cheating on me. We are not married. Can you investigate?
Even if only spouses have the duty of fidelity, it is possible to investigate your partner if you are not married. You will have to demostrate that his unfaithful behavior is causing you a direct damage, for instance for the children education or your financial situation. The private detective can also investigate on your partner as part of your wedding projects.

🤝 Who does actually investigate? Do you hire subcontractors?
Our investigation are done by Solvest’s private investigators. This is why we mainly investigate in the Hauts-de-France region. If a mission requires specific human resources, such as several investigators at the same time, we may hire fellow investigators.

📷 I would like to get photos or videos, is that possible?
The private detective may take pictures or videos if it brings added value to the evidence, and always in compliance with the law. This is only possible in public places. In a legal proceedings, we recommend to mention the pictures in the investigation report but to provide them to the judge only upon his request, in order to protect the parties privacy.

👱 I am looking for a relative or an old friend, can you find him?
We can trace and find people you want to reconnect with. You should know that we can only give you their location once they agree. If they don’t, we can still forward them your message or give you news, always respecting their privacy. However when the investigation is done for a legitimate purpose such as the notification of a judgment, we can provide you the adress without the person’s agreement.

🚷 Can anyone be a private investigator in France?
The profession of private detective in France is defined by the Code of Internal Security. Private investigators must obtain an accreditation delivered by the National Council for the Activities of Private Security (CNAPS) and they have to respect a Code of Conduct. See our page on the regulation and ethics of private investigators in France.

🧐 I need to bring evidence. Should I call a bailiff or a private detective?
The roles of a bayliff and a private detective are different, and sometimes complementary. The bayliff certifies his observations, but he doesn’t investigate. Contrary to the bayliff, the private investigator doesn’t have to reveal his status. He will be able to find the place where the facts occur (storage of stolen materials, adultery, etc.). In a nutshell, if the place is known and no discretion is needed, you should call a bayliff. If an investigation is needed, hiring a private detective will be a better solution. In some cases, the detective will allow the bayliff to intervene at the right time and the right place.

🤐 How do you make sure that your investigation will be discrete? And if you get “caught”, are there any legal risks?
The French law states that the private detective can investigate “without stating its status or revealing the purpose of its mission”. Contrary to many clichés created by cinema or literature, the private detective does not always wear sun glasses and does not driver a mini-van with opaque windows either. He is actually acting as any other individual, respects the law and adapts to the situation. A good private detective should not “get caught” and will not reveal the purpose of his mission in any case. His investigation are legitimate and legal, which actually eliminates any risks of legal action.

🤔 I suspect someone of doing something wrong, but I am not sure. What will happen if I was wrong?
Seeking the truth is the main function of the private detectives. Removing any concerns of doubt is makes also part of our job, and brings answers to your questions. This is why the private investigators have a duty of means: they are paid for human and material resources allocated to the investigation. They have no duty of results, as long as the result depends on external events that he doesn’t control. For example, it is possible that your spouse is actually faith and loyal. In some cases, a part of our fees may be linked to the result: for instance in tracing people or finding an adress.

📱 Can you spy on my spouse or child’s mobile phone?
Spying on a mobile phone or a computer is not legal under many aspects (privacy, confidentiality of correspondence, etc.). We do not use this kind of techniques and could not recommend to do so. We can however investigate on open sources, for instance on social networks. In many cases, the on-site investigation (surveillance, testimonies) will also bring answers to your questions, in compliance with the law.

🚗 Can you install a GPS tracker on a vehicle?
In France, using a GPS tracker is only possible on your own vehicle. For companies, they can be used only if the employees have been informed and their use is strictly regulated. We do not use this type of devices, as their use is not legal and the evidence collected would not be admissible. Surveillance is still the best way to collect information and evidence, it is legal and makes part of our skills.


You still have questions and could not find an answer?