28th Conference of European Civil Law Notaries – 21-22 April 2016, Salzburg

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The Austrian notariat held its 28th edition of the Conference of European Civil Law Notaries on 21 and 22 April 2016 in Salzburg. The theme of this event was: not@r 4.0 – The Digital Agenda of the Notariat. 22 European countries, members or candidates for EU accession, were represented. On this occasion, high-ranking speakers from the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States, in addition to law practitioners and members of academia, discussed the digitisation of the notariat and related issues.

What does the digital agenda for the single market hold in store for the notariat? What role do authentic instruments play in the era of digitisation? How should dematerialised registers be managed? These are all topical questions that brought together the participants around three panel discussions. It is clear that although digitisation can be a source of new opportunities, it can also generate uncertainty in many respects, particularly legal uncertainty.

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The President of the Austrian notariat, Mr Ludwig Bittner, highlighted the pioneering role played by the notariat in relation to digitisation, working for ever improved interoperability between its IT systems, the quality guarantee providing trust and certainty for its users. Mr Paolo Pasqualis, President of the CNUE, reiterated this, emphasising the need for common reflection and solutions on the movement of notarial acts, based on mutual trust.

Mr Francisco Fonseca Morillo, Deputy Director-General at the European Commission’s DG Justice, recalled the projects initiated by the European institutions and practitioners: the e-CODEX project, the interconnection of business registers and of registers of wills and the European Directory of Notaries now available on the Commission’s e-Justice portal. He welcomed the interconnection of registers of wills implemented by the ENRWA, making it possible to check the existence of a will in another country. In this respect, he announced the launch of the Electronic European Certificate of Succession (eECS) for the end of April, asking that it be made available in the IT systems of each notariat. Finally, Mr Fonseca Morillo underlined the importance of the various information websites of the Notaries of Europe, and in particular the Couples in Europe website (www.couples-europe.eu) in the context of the forthcoming adoption of the regulations on matrimonial property regimes and the property consequences of registered partnerships and the revision of the Brussels IIa Regulation.