“The Notarial institution is acquiring increasing importance in the international sphere. The Ministry of Justice gives this profession its full support to ensure the security and diligence of legal traffic and the protection of citizens”, said the Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catalá during the inauguration of the seminar on cross-border successions held on 30 October at the Madrid headquarters of the European Commission and Parliament.
“Another indication of the strengthening of the notarial function in matters of succession is the new EU Regulation on cross-border successions which, since it became applicable on 17 August, is strongly contributing to the construction of the single area of justice. The notarial function plays a key role in planning and developing EU successions”, the Minister of Justice pointed out.
One of the concepts incorporated into the new regulation on successions is the certificate of succession, “colloquially known as ‘a passport’ that makes it possible to accredit heir or legatee status without having to transact any other procedure”. The government’s decision to entrust the notaries –together with the courts – with the task of issuing this document is connected to the Spanish tradition of resolving inheritance issues through a notary. The capacity of the notarial service has allowed the government to take this decision, recognising the value of the public document –together with the public registry– as a key element of our system of preventive legal certainty”.
The decided support given by the Executive to the notarial profession has been endorsed during this last term with other measures “to improve our system of preventive legal certainty where the notaries take centre stage, such as: the Voluntary Jurisdiction Act, which follows the dejudicialisation line promoted by the Council of Europe; this act has attributed to the notaries a set of competences that hitherto pertained exclusively to the courts in matters of succession, such as the declaration of heirs, the registration of wills and –alternating with other legal operators– no-fault separation or divorce. This substantive law is a step in the right direction towards dejudicialisation. Other novelties, such as the International Legal Cooperation Act in civil matters, which establishes the requirements for accessing the register of foreign public documents, or the historic Law that grants Spanish nationality to Sephardic Jews, are both of them an example of the government’s trust in notaries”.
Another of the Ministry’s lines of collaboration with the notaries will be one associated with e-Justice, the EU electronic justice programme. “At the Ministry we are prepared to collaborate with notaries to drive forward initiatives such as the CNUE’s European network of registers of wills, a quality standard that will allow us to improve the information system for last wills or testaments”.