Press Release

4th Notaries of Europe Congress

Notaries of Europe call for enhanced consumer protection in the digital environment

Santiago de Compostela,

Notaries make proposals with regard to a European framework on topics such as blockchain, electronic signatures, virtual identity and digital inheritance

The notaries of Europe, meeting at their 4th Congress, have offered their cooperation to the European institutions to strengthen the legal certainty of consumers and businesses in the digital environment. A series of proposals have been put forward as part of the European Commission’s strategy on the digital single market. One of the objectives of this strategy is to increase consumer confidence through better protection and compliance with standards.

With regard to online contracts, the Spanish notariat has submitted a proposal to intervene at the pre-contractual stage. The aim of this proposal would be to ensure that the general terms and conditions of online contracts comply with EU consumer legislation. According to the proposal, notaries would also provide consumers with impartial advice on the legal and economic consequences of their contractual obligations. The work carried out by notaries would be certified by a “notarial seal of conformity” affixed to all online contracts that they supervise. This seal could be used by companies as a quality label and would therefore also enhance legal certainty and confidence.

For the contractual phase of online contracts, the Dutch notariat has made proposals concerning, among other things, the identification of the parties and their digital capacity. A reliable identification of the digital entrepreneur and the means available to him or her to make sales or provide online services could increase consumer confidence.

Finally, the notaries of Europe have stressed the need to adopt measures to ensure legal certainty for consumers in the use of virtual identities, digital addresses, new technologies such as blockchain and finally in the area of digital heritage.

Facts and Figures
The 2017 edition of the European Commission’s Consumer Markets Scoreboard shows that over past decade the number of European citizens shopping online has almost doubled (from 29.7% in 2007 to 55% in 2017). In Europe, the e-commerce market is estimated to have surpassed €500 billion in 2016, according to the European B2C Report on Electronic Commerce, published by Ecommerce Europa.

4th Notaries of Europe Congress
From 5 to 7 October, notaries from 22 EU countries are gathering in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela for the Congress organised by the Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE) on “EU Law at the Service of Citizens”. The current President of the CNUE, which represents more than 40,000 notaries in Europe, is a Spanish notary, Mr José Manuel García Collantes. More than 600 notaries are attending this fourth Congress, along with senior officials of the European and Spanish institutions, representatives of consumer and business organisations and other legal practitioners.

Consult the Congress programme at
Congress Facebook page: @notariescongress
Congress Twitter account: @NotaryCongress and #NotariesCongress

The CNUE in brief:

The Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE) is an official body representing the notarial profession in dealings with the European institutions. Speaking for the profession, it expresses the joint decisions of its members to the institutions of the European Union. The CNUE includes 22 notarial organisations in the European Union, representing over 40,000 notaries and 200,000 staff. The European notariats are represented in the CNUE by the presidents of the national notariats. The CNUE operates under the authority of a President, the CNUE’s spokesperson, who has tenure for one year.

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