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March 25, 2017
Question: Does the law allow for me to hire a private investigator to follow somebody?
Answer: Appointing a private investigator is illegal in the UAE. Even if you bring them from outside the country, it is against Article No 378 of UAE Penal Law, which says that a prison sentence will be inflicted on any person who attacks the sanctity of an individual's private or family life by committing any of the following acts without their consent, except in legally permitted cases: a) Eavesdropping or recording or transmitting by any system any conversation held at a particular place or via the phone. b) Picking up or transmitting by any system a person's picture. However, if you believe that someone has committed a crime, the law gives you an alternative option - you have the right to request that police investigate and collect evidence for you, as per Article No 30 of the UAE Criminal Procedures Law No 35 of 1992.
The United Arab Emirates abrogated the earlier Penal Code and issued a new law to govern crimes and penalties, called the Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of Crimes and Penalties Law. The new Penal Code was issued on 20 September 2021 and came into force on 2 January 2022. The punishment prescribed for interfering with the right to privacy and family life of an individual is imprisonment and a fine, as set out in Article 431 of the New Penal Code.