The liberalisation of notarial services from an economic law perspective, between public interest, competition, and European constraints

Riccardo de Caria (Università di Torino)

Abstract

The liberalisation of notarial services has special characteristics, since notaries have a dual func-tion: on the one hand, they are highly competent legal and tax advisers; on the other, they are pub-lic officials charged with public functions that are incumbent on their clients. Liberalising the no-tarial profession clashes with the asymmetry between the beneficiary of the services and the per-son responsible for paying for them. The State has always "compensated" the notaries for these services, with a closed number, activity reserves and compulsory tariffs. Adopting a neutral ap-proach, the article proposes a market-friendly reform path that takes account of the specific char-acteristics of the notarial profession. In this sense, notarial exclusivity and the quota system could be reduced or abolished, while avoiding the reintroduction of minimum fees. On the other hand, the State could eliminate notarial services free of charge or compensate notaries for such services, leaving competition on tariffs free.

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