A private investigator is a person who works in private investigations, after receiving a license to do so from the Justice Department.
In order to receive a private investigator license, the applicant must be eligible according to the criteria that were set by the law (above the age of 18, without a criminal record, etc.).
The applicant must go through an “internship” at an investigation office that will accept him. The “intern” is schooled in the ways of the profession and the internship lasts for 3 years. During this time, the investigation office submits mandatory semi-annual reports to the Justice Department about the intern.
At the end of the 3 years, the intern may take the exams in Israeli law and professional ethics in order to receive a valid license from the Justice Department.
A private investigator with a valid license, is supposed to continue to work with the investigation office that he did his internship and / or as a “freelance” with other investigation offices, for an additional 5 years. During this time, the new private investigator is not allowed to receive any direct cases from clients and he is supposed to conduct investigations through the investigation offices that he is working with.
The private investigator receives his wages from the investigation office that he is working with. When is a private investigator allowed to receive direct cases from clients?
After 5 years of being employed at an private investigation office, or as a “freelancer”, the private investigator can submit a request to the Justice Department to receive a license to manage an investigation office and this is after he has proven that he has worked for 5 straight years as a private investigator within an investigation office or a “freelancer” for other investigation offices. Only then, upon receiving a license to manage an investigation office, may the private investigator receive direct cases and wages from different clients.
Today, there are many private investigators that are breaking the law. They receive cases from clients despite the facts that they do not have a license to manage a private investigation office.
Private clients and sometimes clients from the public sector are not fully versed with the “private investigator law” and commission an investigation directly from a private investigator that may be in possession of a license, but does not have a license to operate a private investigation office.
In such cases, it is important to remember that any evidence that the private investigator might have acquired, will probably be disqualified in court if the private investigator is not in possession of a license to manage a private investigation office given by the Ministry of Justice.
Private investigators who take cases from clients without having a license to mange an investigation office, try to circumvent the law and approach a licensed investigation office and ask that office to “vouch” for them. Some investigation offices owners (that do not actively work in the field, but are in possession of a license) are tempted and give their name as if they were the investigators who took the case.
From that moment on, all the responsibility falls at their door step. They do not know how the private investigator acts and whether his actions are legal. If the private investigator acted illegally, the license owner might be criminally charged and all of this because of greed. In any case, it is fraud and a failure to comply with the private investigator law, regarding the licensed investigation office and the client.
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