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The exchange of notarial practice: Russian-French dialogue

14th September 2016  
On September 9, 2016 the capital city of France hosted the 13th Russian-French workshop dedicated to the topic “Transfer of titles.” The workshop has long proved itself as one of the most important European level discussion platforms making a significant contribution into the development of international relations in the field of notarial activities.

This event was already thirteenth held in this format and it’s aimed at the fulfillment of the bilateral arrangements fixed in the Agreement on Cooperation that was signed in November 2000 by the Federal Chamber of Notaries of the Russian Federation and the Supreme Council of Notaries of France. Russian-French workshops traditionally include discussions on topical issues of notarial activities fulfilled in the two countries, such as the regulation of public relations in the view of the inheritance and family law, IT implementation, specific features of the business law. As a result, Russian and French notary Institutes show an active development of cooperation at the regional level: representatives of the Chambers of notaries from St. Petersburg, Moscow and Voronezh are among the permanent workshop participants. 

The workshop was opened by Serge Pascault, the Supreme Council of Notaries of France delegate for Russia. He pronounced a welcome speech, followed by Elena Moskal, President of the Commission for international cooperation of the Federal Chamber of Notaries and President of the Chamber of notaries of the Leningrad region.

According to Serge Pascault, the Russian notary Institute boasts long traditions and rich history and it quickly mastered the European standards. The profession of notary is now highly respected in Russia — one more proof of that was the Day of the Notary, established by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. 

The French colleague said as well that today the inhabitants of any developed country need qualified legal assistance when it comes to the property issues, entrepreneurial activity, actions relating to the marriage and family issues, registration of the rights of inheritance, etc. These relations often contain foreign elements, so it’s extremely important for notaries, professionals, whose competence includes such kind of issues, a regular exchange of experience and knowledge with foreign colleagues.

For her part, Elena Moskal introduced Russian speakers to the audience and confirmed a particular importance of international workshops for notaries from different countries. 

Larisa Schennikova, head of the civil law Department at the Kuban State University, made a report on the theme “Real Estate in Russia’s civil legislation. Prospects of proprietary regulation. Institutions of nationalization and acquisitive prescription.” 

Natalia Fleischer, a member of the International Cooperation Commission at the Federal Chamber of Notaries and notary in the city of Magnitogorsk, presented her report dedicated to the “Types of property titles.” Elena Moskal highlighted issues related to the contracts of property alienation speaking about their types, order of certification and peculiarities of registration of the ownership transfer. 

Besides the speakers, the Russian delegation included the adviser to the President of the FCN on International Cooperation Alexander Yanin, chief specialist of the International Cooperation Group of the FCN Elena Vasilyeva, Vice-President of the Chamber of Notaries of the Voronezh region Nina Bogatykh, member of the Board at the Chamber of Notaries of Sverdlovsk region Elena Belianskaya, notary at Rostov regional Chamber of Notaries Galina Tkacheva and others. 

The majority of reports presented by French notaries were associated to the peculiarities of certification of real estate deals in France, including those where foreign citizens are involved. 

Valériu Esanu, a Notary in Montcornet, spoke about different ways of real estate reimbursable transfers including sale, shared ownership and bidding. According to him, notaries in France when certifying real estate transactions assure their legal security guaranteed by the state. Mr. Esanu identified specific examples from notarial practice and said about the ways of defining the law to be applied in every specific case, verification of the ability of the parties which take part in a transaction and also about conditions of determining the validity of transactions that exist under the French law. 

The French notary paid special attention to the determination of the real estate price and settlements under the contracts, specific features of the transfers of property and risks, as well as conditions of contract certification required to be accomplished, notary functions in this kind of transactions and terms of the preparation of all necessary documents. 

Alexandre Lafage, a Notary in Marseilles, made a report on the topic “Transfer of property on a no cost basis (donation contract, acceptance of the inheritance, division agreement).” The speaker made special emphasis on several features of the French legislation, such as irrevocability of the act of donation, rights of the donator, tax system applicable in the process of registration of inheritance rights and possible methods of the inherited property assessment. 

Special attention was paid to the provisions of the European regulation “About the competence, applicable law, recognition and fulfillment of decisions, adoption and execution of a notarial act on the issues of succession and creation of a European certificate of inheritance.” French colleagues estimate that this document will be beneficial for the rapprochement of legal systems in different countries, including Russia and France. 

The report made by Serge Pascault, a notary in Paris, was entitled “The comprehensive solutions for real estate. The acquisition of properties through expropriation. Acquisitive prescription.” In addition to the general information concerning the procedure of expropriation and property acquisition by prescription in France, the speaker talked about dishonesty of real estate developers and identified a number of examples from the court practice. 

The workshop ended with a round table on the relevant topics where participants exchanged notarial experience regarding the certification of real estate transactions and registration of inheritance rights. The specific features of the notary work with legal entities were also discussed, as well as the trends of Europe’s civil legislation development.