The law No. 2003-239 of March 18, 2003 defines private research activities. Article 20 created by this law states that the activity of private investigation is a liberal profession that constitutes “for a person, to collect, without stating their status or revealing the object of their mission, information or information intended for third parties, for the purpose of defending their interests, excluding activities governed by Title III (private economic intelligence activity)”. The private investigator is bound by professional secrecy. In case of violation, they face the sanctions announced in Article 226-13 of the Criminal Code.
As the profession is regulated, strict control is carried out by the National Council of Private Security Activities (CNAPS). Thus, agency managers are subject to a request for approval after a check of their morality and professional aptitude.
In addition, a Code of Deontology of physical or moral persons carrying out private security activities, consolidated by Decree No. 2012-870 of July 10, 2012, has come to regulate the profession.