Warning

REMOTE NOTARIAL DEED: Since April 1st, notaries are allowed to sign a notarized document remotely. This is not compulsory and notaries are free to use this additional tool or not. Consult the steps and application procedures.
CHAMBRE DES NOTAIRES OFFICES: The Chamber's offices are open, but due to the circumstances related to the coronavirus some services are offered remotely. Additional delays apply for requests for searches in Registers of Testamentary Dispositions and Mandates, as well as for requests for a Certificate of Quality and Authenticity.

 

 
Home > The Profession > Origins of Notarial Practice

Origins of Notarial Practice

The history of notarial practise stretches back in time. It began nearly 1000 years ago, somewhere in Europe. The profession now exists in some 65 countries, including France, Italy and Japan.

Some people believe that the profession was first created in northern Italy. At that time, it was the duty of the princes to render justice, and many people petitioned them. One of these princes mandated the people who wrote up his judgments to take notes and draw up pacts for people who had come to agreements. The prince gave these documents the same legal force as his own legal decisions.

Other historians credit Saint Louis with having created the notarial function. Justice was a royal privilege. One day, returning from a crusade, Louis IX found a huge number of citizens waiting for him to receive justice (when the king was out of the realm, justice was not rendered).

In the face of this situation, the sovereign asked all those who did not really have a dispute to move to one side, and the others to move to the other side. He then designated the first royal notaries to take care of the first group. It is said that he named 60. Then he held hearings with the second group.

Whether the origin of the profession lies in Italy or France, the practise was created to ease the burden on the judicial system. Princes and kings named people who knew the law and knew how to make judiciary decisions. Through this knowledge, they were able to advise the parties on how to write up agreements. The first notaries were granted the authority delegated by the prince or king – that is, by the person who represented the state.

Origins of Notarial Practice
 
 

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