Conference "Providing Legal Certainty under Exceptional Circumstances" - 2 November 2020, Berlin

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On the occasion of the European Day of Justice and within the framework of the European Notarial Network, the Federal Chamber of German Notaries ("Bundesnotarkammer") and the CNUE jointly organised a conference in Berlin on 2 November on the theme "Providing legal certainty under exceptional circumstances". At a time of unprecedented health crisis and the digital age, this conference was an opportunity to review the various initiatives taken by European notariats to ensure the continuity of their services, particularly through the development of new digital tools, such as the creation of a blockchain for powers of attorney in Germany or a online system for the creation of companies in Italy.

The President of the Bundesnotarkammer, Jens Bormann, recalled that, during these difficult times, it was the duty of notaries, public officers, to continue their mission for the benefice of citizens and businesses. Faced with the need for social distancing, the use of videoconferencing and dematerialised access to registers made it possible to ensure the continuity of the notaries’ service. However, Mr. Bormann stressed that digitalisation could not be an end in itself: under no circumstances should the changes made harm the quality criteria, such as the guarantee of full legal security. In this respect, the German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, Christine Lambrecht, congratulated the German notariat for the efforts made in recent months, particularly with regard to the implementation of the new online system for the creation of companies.

The president of the CNUE, Georgios Rouskas, underlined the willingness of the notaries of Europe to contribute alongside the European institutions to the development of a global EU strategy on the digitisation of justice. To this end, he called for the promotion of e-skills in the justice sector, to enable notaries, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, judicial staff and other legal practitioners to use digital tools effectively and in a way that respects legal certainty. He also insisted that digital tools should not undermine the fundamental principles of legal systems, citing as an example the ongoing work at European level on the issue of the use of artificial intelligence, which could also affect the justice sector.

The conference was followed the next day by a meeting of the European Notarial Network, whose objective is to offer online support to European notaries for the handling of their cross-border cases.