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The notary is a public official who by state delegation attributes public certification to the documents (contracts, deeds, etc.) he draws up by an appropriate certificate with a notarial seal. These documents are admissible without further proof of their authenticity In order to allow him independence, the notary has recognised professional status in the way he performs his functions.

In Roman law the notarius was originally a slave or freedman who took notes of judicial proceedings. The work of the modern notary, however, corresponds more to that of the Roman tabularius, who took and preserved evidence. In medieval times the notary was an ecclesiastical officer who preserved evidence, but his duties were mainly secular.

In the United States, qualifications for the position vary little from state to state, and, in general, a notary must be a citizen of legal age and a resident of the area in which he desires appointment. The jurisdiction of the notary's office is limited to the state or, in some states, only the county in which he resides. In countries such as France and Italy, however, and in the Canadian province of Quebec, which follow the civil-law tradition, there are educational requirements for notaries similar to those for lawyers.

In the civil-law countries of western Europe, and in Latin American and French areas of North America, the office of notary is a much more important position than in the United States and England. The civil-law notary may be roughly described as a lawyer who specializes in the law relating to real estate, sales, mortgages, and the settlement of estates but who is not allowed to appear in court. Documents prepared by him or authenticated in the proper manner are, in these countries, admissible in court without further proof of their authen­ticity; the notary guarantees the identity of the parties.

The services offered by a notary, whether in the form of advice, which is provided to the parties in an impartial but active, manner, or of a certified deed, gives the Law user the legal certainty he seeks. Such legal certainty is ensured by two conditions: on the one hand, notaries are required to have the high educational qualifications which are similar to those required for lawyers (since access to the profession is allowed only after special training), and on the other, the strict disciplinary rules they are subject to in the exercise of their functions.

The notary is qualified as a public official because the State delegates to him the powers of public certification, so the documents drawn up by a notary are considered to be authentic, which means that the deed or contract is valid.

The notary draws up a document after hearing the will of the parties, he adjusts such will to the legal system through his advice and at the same time he exercises control to ensure it is licit by virtue of the powers conferred upon him by the State. The notary is the author of the document and therefore he is responsible for its consistency with the law.

Consulting services are provided to private individuals in an active, personalised and unbiased manner. The duty of being unbiased compels the notary to inform and provide special assistance to both parties and in particular to the party which were to be in a condition of inferiority with respect to the other in order to reach the necessary balance that will make sure that the contract is entered into in conditions of equality.

The notary as a public official exercises his functions within a pro­fessional setting and within the field of private law where there is no conflict, i.e. only in the sphere of private legal relationships that are established, modified or terminated without disagreement between the parties.

In summary, the function of a notary is preventive in nature, and is thus opposed to the function of a judge, in that the notary has the role of reducing the risk of litigation; a notary provides legal support to the agreements between citizens; thus he protects the legitimate interests of the users of law.


UNDERSTANDING MAIN POINTS___________________________________

3. Answer the following questions using the information from the text:

1. What is a notary?

2. How do notary's responsibilities vary?

3. What countries is the office of notary more important than in England? Why?

4. Is there any differences in duties and responsibilities of notaries from different countries?

5. How can the civil-law notary roughly described?

6. What kind of documents does the notary deal with?

7. What kind of advice can the notary provide?

8. What is the notary responsible for as a public official?


4. WORD STUDY. Find in the text the words that correspond to the following definitions:

(Here are several definitions of the legal terms used in the text. Read and translate each of them and guess the term)

· written documents that explain each side's case and tell why the country should decide in its favour;

· an interest in property created as a form of security for loan or payment of a debt and terminated on payment of the loan or debt;

· a lawyer or legal practitioner who attests or certifies deeds and other documents or protests dishonoured bills of exchange;

· a document by which a person appoints executors to administer his estate after his death, and directs the manager in which it is to be distributed to the beneficiaries;

· a written document that is signed, sealed and delivered; if it is a contractual document, it is referred to as a contract under seal;

· a contract involving the sale of goods or a similar contract of transfer;

· a gratuitous transfer or grant of property. A legally valid gift must normally be effected by deed, by physical delivery in the case of chatteles.


5. PREPOSITIONS. Choose the right preposition in brackets according to the contents of the sentences (in, with, for, to, up, from): Note! Pay attention to the differences between “adverbial particles” and “prepositions”.

1. Mens rea, the certain state of mind, varies ... crime to crime; they may be recklessness, negligence, intention to bring about a par­ticular consequence.

2. Which field of law does your brother specialize ...?

3. Liability is responsibility ... one’s actions together with an obli­gation to repair any injury caused.

4. What are his requirements ... you?

5. Bribery and corruption are offences relating ... the improper influencing of people in certain position of trust.

6. Notary is a legal practitioner who draws ... legal documents, attests deeds, etc.

7. The room became dark and the thief s eyes a moment adjust... the situation because he had to look ... his knife quickly and then escape.

8. Examples include the immunity of members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords from proceedings ... respect ... words spoken in debate.


6. WORD FAMILIES. Give the chain of derivatives for the words below: Example: effect-effective-effectiveness-ineffectiveness;

to certify, to require, office, mortgage, authentic, bias, to agree, to reside


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