In Italy, the defense investigation is regulated by art. 327-bis c.p.p. who recognizes the possibility for the defender to make use of private investigators, authorized to carry out defensive investigations by an authorization issued by the prefecture and/or for the autonomous provinces by the Police Headquarters, after having ascertained their specific professional experience.

This authorization is issued only to subjects already in possession of the license to carry out private investigation activities in the civil field, under art. 134 (T.U.L.P.S.), in the absence of which it is forbidden to carry out investigations, searches, and information gathering.

The lawyer who wants to make use of the support of a private investigator to carry out a defensive investigation must notify the proceeding judicial authority of the appointment.

By which the private investigator is granted the guarantees of freedom provided for the defender by article 103, paragraph 3 and paragraph 5 of the criminal procedure code: in particular, the prohibition for the prosecution body to carry out interceptions of conversations or communications and to proceed with the seizure of papers or documents relating to the object of the defense, unless they constitute the body of the crime, under penalty of unusability of the results.

Given the importance of the act, the mandate must be given by the lawyer to the private investigator in writing, specifying the subject of the investigation, the criminal proceedings connected to the investigation, the main factual elements that justify the activity, and its reasonable duration.

The authorized private investigator must carry out his investigations – personally or through collaborators – with due diligence, professionalism, and confidentiality, providing the defense attorney with all the information collected during his activity.

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