Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Russia (Russia) LLP, formerly Goltsblat BLP in Russia, advises that, on 17 December 2019, the State Duma approved a bill on amending the Fundamentals of the Legislation of the Russian Federation on notaries and certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation contemplating transition to notarial services in electronic format (hereinafter the Digital Notarisation Bill). It is presumed that most of the Bill’s provisions will come into effect a year after the law is officially published (apart from certain provisions that will be effective immediately after publication).
The Digital Notarisation Bill is designed to simplify and speed up performance of a whole number of notarial actions required both in corporate relations and by individuals. In particular, the Law lists notarial actions that may be performed remotely and how this will be done. The list includes:
confirmation of correct translation of documents from one language into another,
transfer of documents by some individuals and legal entities to others,
acceptance of money on deposit,
notarial endorsement of debt collection by direct debit,
securing evidence by way of reviewing information on the Internet,
issue of excerpts from the register of notices of movable property pledge.
The Law provides separately for performance of remote transactions involving several notaries representing different parties via a notarial electronic system without the parties having to gather in one place: transaction blueprints will be created by the notaries using the notarial electronic system and the participating notaries will be chosen directly by the participants in the transaction. The following algorithm of actions is proposed for a transaction certified by two notaries remotely:
each transaction participant signs, before a notary, a copy of the transaction in electronic format using a simple digital signature and a hard copy that is kept in the notary’s office files;
the invariability of the transaction text in electronic format is ensured by the unified notarial information system;
the certified electronic version of the transaction is signed by the certifying notaries’ qualified digital signatures and is stored in the unified notarial information system;
the notarised transaction is entered in the register of notarial actions performed remotely and transactions certified by two or more notaries in the unified notarial information system.
If real property is disposed of in this manner, at least one of the notaries certifying the transaction must do so in the constituent entity of the Russian Federation where the given real property is located.
If two or more notaries are involved in certifying a transaction, they bear joint and several liability for any harm caused through their fault if a transaction is recognised as invalid, except where the invalidity is due to one of the notaries failing to comply with the law.
The Digital Notarisation Bill must be approved by the Federation Council and signed by the President of the Russian Federation.
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