October 2019 – Two draft laws to regulate private detective activities in Ukraine have recently been introduced in the Ukrainian parliament. The first is Draft Law on private detective (search) activities No. 1228 dated 2 September 2019 ("Draft Law No. 1228"). Its contents and name are identical to Draft Law No. 1024, which was introduced during the previous parliament but recalled by its drafters in August 2018 ("Draft Law No. 1024"). The second is an alternative Draft Law on detective services No. 1228-1 dated 20 September 2019, which was drafted by representatives of the Servant of the People party [Sluha Narodu] ("Draft Law 1228-1").
There have been numerous attempts to regulate private detective activities in Ukraine, none of which to date have been successful. In 2017, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a law on detective activities, but it was vetoed by the president and parliament lacked the votes to override it. The text of this vetoed law, including amendments made by the president, is repeated almost verbatim in both Draft Law No. 1024 and in the newly proposed Draft Law No. 1228.
Both Draft Laws No. 1228 and No. 1228-1 would introduce licensing requirements for private detective activities, establish qualification requirements for detectives, define their rights and obligations, and set forth a list of services to be provided by them. However, the contents of the draft laws differ substantially in certain areas.
Draft Law No. 1228-1 provides an exhaustive and rather limited list of information that a detective may collect, while Draft Law 1228 contains no such limitations. In addition, unlike Draft Law No. 1228, Draft Law 1228-1 sets out detailed requirements with respect to the processing of personal data by a detective, obligates a detective to promptly notify a criminal investigative body of an agreement executed with a client, and requires reports to be submitted on their activities.
Both draft laws provide that detective activities are the only and exclusive type of activities to be performed by detectives. Both prohibit private detectives from performing operational-investigative activities, and both are silent on open or covert investigative (detective) actions provided under the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine.
Neither draft law provides detectives with special instruments to facilitate or expedite their activities. For example, they are not given access to restricted registers or the right to obtain information on an expedited basis in response to a detective inquiry. In addition, neither draft law includes a prohibition that would protect private detectives from being required to testify as witnesses in criminal proceedings.
These latest attempts to regulate private detective activities in Ukraine are certainly a positive development. However, under both draft laws, a private detective's functioning will be limited to collecting and recording information, as neither provides detectives with powers similar to those vested in law enforcement bodies.
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