800 Years of the Portuguese Notary Profession

posted in: National news

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In 2014, the Portuguese notary profession celebrates eight centuries of existence. Almost contemporary with the foundation of Portugal, notarial practice is a witness to the life of the nation. According to the work of Prof. Bernardo Sá Nogueira, entitled "Portugaliae Tabellionum Instrumenta (1214-1234)" (Lisbon, History Centre of the University of Lisbon, 2005), the oldest document written by a notary dates back to 12 August 1214, drafted by Martim Martins, empowered to exercise his profession in Guimarães (ANTT, Collegiate of Guimarães, bundle 6, no. 6).

The notary has been a witness to the most important moments in the lives of citizens throughout the history of our country, notarising, certifying veracity and legitimacy, building immutable and timeless memories.

Today, the notary is a self-employed professional, trustee of public faith, whose activity has the ultimate aim of social peace. The Portuguese notary profession rises to the current challenges of speed, efficiency and rigour imposed by modern society by combining all its technical and legal knowhow with permanent technological and IT innovation in the legal field.

The Portuguese Notary Association, the representative body of Portuguese notaries, created on 6 March 2006, has the clear and ongoing aim of moving closer to citizens and companies through the network of Notarial Offices throughout the country, guaranteeing the security of legal trading and the protection of citizens. The professional association’s priority is to provide solutions to the new social and economic dynamics, to which notaries contribute through their specialised knowhow, for the growth of Portuguese society.

Given the momentous historical moment that the Portuguese notary profession is going through, the objective is to mark and commemorate this anniversary with a cycle of legal, social and cultural initiatives over the course of the current year. Among the many highlights are the exhibition to the public of the oldest document written by a Portuguese notary, the creation and projection of a film about the history of the notary profession, from its beginnings until today, as well as the 3rd Congress of the Portuguese Notary Profession, including national and foreign speakers who will debate and call attention to current notarial topics, in Portugal and around the world. On this occasion, it was our honour to welcome the president of the CNUE, Mr André Michielsens, who gave a spirited address in support of the European cause.

Just as the history of Portugal has been marked by the insignia of notaries, this stamp issue pays homage to this anniversary. The Portuguese stamp dedicated to this magna date will ensure that it lives on, timelessly and symbolically, in the collective imagination.