Participants in a forum on public notaries in Serbia agreed that the introduction of this institution will improve the legal security or citizens. The Law on Public Notaries took effect in May 2011 and is to apply as of September 1, 2012. More from Đuro Malobabić.
The state secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Gordana Pualić, said that public notaries in Serbia would assume part of court competences in non-contentious and administrative procedures, which will increase the efficiency of courts. The office is to be assigned to 360 persons in Serbia, which means one public notary for 25,000 people on average. Public notaries will be working in the private interest of citizens, but also in public interests and their work will be under the strict supervision of the Chamber, the judiciary and the Justice Ministry, said Pualić.
German Ambassador to Serbia Wolfram Maas emphasized that the lack of progress in the rule of the law had been the biggest problem in Serbia in the past five years and expressed hope that the institution of a public ntoary office would represent an important step in the improvement of legal security and the efficacy of the judicial system. He emphasized that a public notary should be a neutral instance of a legal state and that therefore transparency in the control of a public notary’s work was essential.
French Ambassador to Serbia Francois Xavier Deniau agreed with him, adding that public notary employment criteria must be impeccable and that it was essential that citizens should trust a public notary. He also pointed to the significance of the control of work of public notaries as they can play a key role in big monetary transactions.
Participants in the panel discussion agreed that a notary’s job demanded high professional qualifications and years-long practical experience prior to taking office. The public notary institution exists in more than 100 countries today – there are over 9,000 public notaries in France alone. A French notary and a representative of the International Union of Notaries, Stefan Zečević, and the vice-president of the German Chamber of Notaries, emphasized that the institution of a public notary had existed in their countries since the 13th century and 16th century respectively. Speaking of the advantages this institution brings, Stefan Zečević particularly referred to legal security, money laundering prevention, institutional safety and the fact that, due to the tariff system, the legal system has hereby become available to all the citizens.
Public notaries will be able to certify and draw up wills and other statements and affidavits, issue documents and their transcripts, certify or authenticate signatures, translations or excerpts, keep the original documents and other instruments, money or other valuables they have been entrusted with, confirm facts in public and provide advice to parties.