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The new Federal law № 480-FZ “On the introduction of amendments to Fundamental Principles of the Legislation of the Russian Federation on the Notariat” (hereinafter – the “Law”) including major amendments to the “Fundamentals on the Notariat” № 4462-1 as of February 11, 1993 approved by Supreme Council of the Russian Federation (hereinafter – “the Fundamentals”) entered into legal force on December 27, 2019. The Law, inter alia, provides for the following amendments:
- Opportunity to notarize the transaction by two or more notaries
- Requirements to formation of notarial documents in hard copyare supplemented
- A number of notarial actions can be performed on a distant basis
- New opportunities for identification of applicants
- Notary will be able to accept for storage documents in electronic format
The Fundamentals are currently the main and complex regulative source of notarial activity in the Russian Federation. Starting from the date of their adoption, the Fundamentals have been subject to modifications every year. However, the amendments contained in the Law can be referred to as one of the most significant amendments for the whole period of Fundamentals’ validity.
Opportunity to notarize the transaction by two or more notaries
The Law provides for an opportunity to notarize the transaction by two or more notaries in case there are two or more parties to the transaction without their joint presence. Such opportunity can be useful for the parties if one of them finds it difficult to meet another party in person but the first party’s presence is essential for performance of notarial action. In such case, each party chooses his notary and decides on the notary who will apply for the introduction of the record in state registers (Unified State Register of Legal Entities, Rosreestr). Each notary verifies the transaction (para. 22 art. 1 of the Law). Herewith, notaries who notarized the transaction will be jointly liable for the damage inflicted due to invalidation of the transaction. The exception would be in cases when one of the notaries bears liability to the extent of its entire assets due to the fact that he did not identify a party of the transaction or did not examine his legal capacity (para. 1 art. 17 of the Fundamentals).
Requirements to formation of notarial documents in hard copy are supplemented
Under the supplements proposed in the Law notarial document in hard copyshall have machine-readable marking which contains:
- Date of the notarial action
- Registration number of notarial action
- Type of notarial action
- Name, surname, father’s name of the notary stated on the notarial document
- Notarial circuit of the notary
- Information on the applicants (para.2 art. 1 of the Law).
Marking of documents will allow to automatically review information on the notarial document by requesting information from the Unified Information System of Notariat (hereinafter – UIS). The Federal Notarial Chamber in cooperation with the Ministry of Communication is supposed to determine the procedure for provision of information from UIS and format of its presentation on the notarial document.
A number of notarial actions can be performed on a distant basis
After the entry of the Law into force a notary will be able to conduct the following actions remotely:
- notarial certification of translation
- delivery of documents of natural and legal persons to other natural and legal persons;
- deposition of monetary funds and securities;
- deposition of movable property, non-cash monetary funds or uncertificated securities;
- recovery of monetary funds or property from the debtor;
- storage of electronic documents;
- actions to secure evidence;
- issuance of an extract from the register of notification of pledge of movable property;
- certification of equivalence between electronic document prepared by the notary and the document prepared in the format other than electronic presented to the notary.
The Law provides for the following procedure for performing notarial action on a distant basis:
1) applicant sends an application for notarial action endorsed with a qualified electronic signature via the UIS to the Federal Notarial Chamber (all the required documents in the electronic format are attached), the format of such application will be stipulated by the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the Federal Notarial Chamber;
2) one on the notaries expresses its readiness to conduct the notarial action on a distant basis;
3) the Federal Notarial Chamber sends the received application for notarial action and the attached electronic documents to the notary remotely;
4) the notary:
- defines the amount of payment, details for payment;
- sends to the applicant notarial document or motivated refusal or decision to postpone the notarial action to the applicant in the electronic format not later than five days after receipt of information confirming payment of notary action;
- registers notarial action in the register of notarial actions performed remotely and transactions notarized by two or more notaries in the UIS.
The notarial document compiled in the electronic format is provided to the applicant at his request.
New opportunities for identification of applicants
A notary is empowered to establish the applicant’s identity remotely by requesting information from the unified biometric system if an applicant fails to provide his identity document. Governmental bodies, banks and other organizations can currently identify persons in such manner in cases stipulated by law (art. 14.1 of the Federal Law № 149-FZ “On information, information technologies and protection of information” as of June 27, 2006). Such amendment is essential for establishing applicant’s identity in case notarial actions are performed remotely. Consent to process personal data is not required which, in our opinion, is not fully compliant with subpara.1 para.1 art.6 of the Federal Law № 149-FZ dated July 27, 2006 “On personal data” that requires the consent of data subject to processing of his personal data (subpara. «г» para. 14 art.1 of the Law).
Notary will be able to accept for storage documents in the electronic format
Starting from 2021, citizens and legal entities will be able to deliver documents to the notary for storage in the electronic format. Herewith, the notary will not be aware of the content of these documents. The notary will only have access to the following information necessary to secure the safety of documents:
- name of the file;
- term of storage;
- email address and applicant’s phone;
- identifier of repository of electronic document provided to the applicant by UIS operator.
A significant part of amendments is related to the transition to electronic workflow and introduction of information technologies which shall simplify and expedite notaries’ activities. Statistics shows that citizens and legal entities tend to ask for notarial services more often[1], the range of notary services is becoming more complicated, therefore, information technologies would be of good use. Information technologies would simplify storage of documents, reduce time costs connected with traveling, delivery of documents to notary’s office and simplify identification of persons who applied for notary services. 
Therefore, the amendments provided by the Law shall be viewed positively in general. At the same time, it should be noted that before the Law comes into force, the Federal Notary Chamber in cooperation with other competent authorities shall develop a number of regulative actions to govern some of the procedures proposed by the Law.

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