Magazine What can a detective actually do?

For people who can’t find answers to their questions but would like to finally find out for certainty and the truth, the next step is usually to hire a detective. But what can a detective do when pursuing his case?

The detective and his powers

Since a private or commercial investigator does not have any special rights, but must adhere to the applicable laws, he needs a legitimate interest from his client to take action. This is the only way that the investigative measure does not interfere with the personal freedom or integrity of the respective target person. But even if there is a legitimate interest (suspicion of infidelity), serious intrusions into the target person’s privacy, e.g. secret photos and video recordings in the apartment, are not proportionate. Eavesdropping on telephone conversations is also prohibited. This is only the responsibility of the state investigative authorities.

It is generally permissible for investigators to take photographs of people in public spaces, provided it is part of the legitimate interest of the client and is proportionate.

During an investigative measure, e.g. an observation, only the behaviors related to the clarification of the investigative order may be documented, i.e. those of the target person. Documentation about roommates, neighbors or companions not relevant to the order is not included in the legitimate interest of the client and is therefore prohibited for detectives. If a detective exceeds this limit, he violates the general personal rights according to Art. 2 in conjunction with Art. 1 GG.

In order to practice your profession seriously, a sound basic legal knowledge is essential.