Beyond a signature

It's not easy to border the Notary' role in the current legal system, mostly in Latin civil law countries. Many people from Common Law Countries believe that the notary public (notaio) performs the same function as a lawyer, solicitor or attorney (avvocato), but they are wrong.

First thing first, Notary is an impartial legal and business advisor: Notaio is a qualified law expert who operates in every area of law such as real estate transactions, family, property inheritance, asset, corporate, rural, local authority, and many others. He has a particular duty to inform and advise his clients on the legal, financial and tax consequences of their project and to suggest the legal instruments best able to implement it.  So there's a benefit in using notaries and it's their breadth of expertise and experience.

The notary is also an interpreter: gathering together and expressing clearly the wishes of people involved in a transaction, is his main task.

With the status of public office-holder, the Notary enforces legal order: the notary is appointed by the Italian Ministry of Justice, acts on behalf of the Italian State and ensures full respect of the law by refuting any improper or illegal deed.

By this way, the Notary practices “preventive justice” discouraging any future litigation at no cost to the State (Francesco Carnelutti, a famous Italian Lawyer and Procedure Law Professor, once said “the more Notaries there are, less Judges you need”), and he fights money laundering too.

Last but not least, Notary is

  • a guarantee of legal certainty: a document drawn up by a Notary is a guarantee of its legality and authenticity and authentic instruments cannot be contested, except through judicial proceedings (statements made in a notarial deed acquire probative value because are deemed true, even by a judge);
  • a guarantee of transparency: Notaries officially witness the wishes expressed by the signatories and give a personal guarantee regarding the content and date of the deed; moreover Italian Notaries are subject to a very strict regulation and to severe controls;
  • Your trusted professional: as delegated by the State Notary pursues only public interest and he ensures that the law is respected. He's forbidden to put the interests of the parties involved before the State's one, he doesn't work on behalf of the buyer or the seller, so the main feature of a notary public is maintaining neutrality and impartiality.

That's why many States entrusted notaries with public registers and with important economic spheres as real estate, corporate law and financing: throughout the world reliance is placed on the truth of the matters stated in notarial acts.