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JUSTICE : PARLIAMENT RECOMMENDS CREATION OF EUROPEAN AUTHENTIC ACT.

Notaries versus lawyers: the debate began in the European Parliament, on 18 December, over the adoption of a non-binding report on the mutual recognition and enforcement of authentic acts in the EU. The initiative de facto excludes documents certified by lawyers in common-law countries (England and Wales), where authentic acts do not exist, as well as private agreements between parties in Scandinavian countries, which do not have the profession of notary. This is also true of certain national cases, such as Hungary, where lawyers can certify signatures when a company is registered.

In the continent's countries with a civil law jurisdiction, therefore, these authentic acts - very useful in preventing litigation and facilitating decisions in the event of trial as they are very difficult to contest - are issued by public officials' (notaries, bailiffs, auctioneers). As Europeans are moving in the EU more and more, the EP wants to facilitate the task by creating a European Authentic Act. It is a question, for example, of bills of sale, marriage contracts, notarial wills, birth and death certificates, and records of creating a company. Also, according to the own-initiative report by Manuel Medina Ortega (PES, Spain), adopted by 478 votes for, 26 against and 42 abstentions, the EP expects, from a European Commission, a legislative proposal establishing a "mutual recognition" of these documents between member states.

Acceptance of the document "can only be refused in the case of serious and substantiated doubts as to its authenticity, or if recognition is contrary to public policy in the member state requested," specify MEPs. However, acts regarding buildings will be excluded, as they require inclusion on the public register.

NO OTHER INSTRUMENTS

Generally speaking, the parliamentary request bothers the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Union (CCBE), which represents some 700,000 lawyers in Europe. Because, in countries with Anglo-Saxon law, lawyers (solicitors) fill the function of notaries; there are professional notaries (scrivener notaries). But these legal experts can only certify signatures, not issue authentic acts.

This resolution "ignores the principle of the respect for different systems and legal traditions in member states affirmed in The Hague Programme (on space for liberty, security and justice within the EU for 2004-2009)," warns the CCBE.

However, the EP rejected the amendments lodged by Diana Wallis (ALDE, UK) in the name of the ALDE group, supported by lawyers. These lawyers recommend the inclusion in the report of "instruments having equivalent legal effects, when national law attributes these effects to them". For the rapporteur it was open Pandora's box rather than extend the report to other instruments without it being possible to establish precise criteria.

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Title Annotation:European Union. European Parliament
Publication:European Report
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Dec 19, 2008
Words:438
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