To big troubles, big solutions. The establishment of the first State of Alarm in March 2020 left the entire country under lock and key in their homes and, worst of all, without certainty of how long a situation never seen before would last. From the Ministry of Justice they then contacted the General Council of Notaries with an unprecedented request: “a formula had to be found so that the ICO policies intended to finance small and medium-sized companies would be activated without the representative of the legal person having to go to the notary’s office.”
The Spanish Notaries have been working for more than 20 years on the digitization of their systems, but, as civil servants and subject to the law, if there is no rule that allows certain services and procedures without the applicant physically going to the notary’s , cannot be undertaken. Hence the importance and how the future Law on Digital Efficiency Measures of the Public Service of Justice is going to change the daily management of millions of companies and citizens.
The text of the draft bill was already approved last October by the Council of Ministers, but has had to undergo the rest of the preliminary procedures before its final approval in the Congress of Deputies. It has already passed the scrutiny of the CGPJ and on June 9 it was sent to the Council of State. For this reason, Justice works with the objective that the approval and its subsequent entry into force culminate before the end of the year.
The main advantage that this new law will introduce, which is a radical change in the procedures that millions of SMEs have to carry out on a daily basis, is that the technology necessary for this transformation is already developed. Then, the effects will be immediate, when in legal reforms of this depth it is usually necessary to wait several years to verify their effects.
Notaries were the first to work with the digital signature, since 2001 all their systems have evolved so that today they are organized in a private and secure network and their contacts with public administrations are telematic. These first advances have led to the creation of the notarial electronic office, which now, with this law, once again takes a leap in quality to also become the space where notaries already interact with companies and individuals through the Notarial Portal.
Notarial sources explain that the bill includes four major measures. The first refers to the creation of an electronic protocol. Currently, when a deed is signed before a notary on a physical or paper support, that document must be kept for 25 years in the notary’s office and must be available for a period of another 75 years. This will continue to be the case but, in addition, there will be the digital notarial protocol. “Since we began digitizing our databases in 2004, we estimate that we store information on more than 43 million people and everything in an absolutely secure manner. We are the second largest database in the country, only surpassed by the Treasury”, they warn.
Aware of the responsibility of being the guardians of such a volume of information, in recent months they have undergone the largest audit that exists to verify that this data is stored with full guarantees: the national security scheme. And they have passed the exam with the best possible grade, with a high rating, a rating that currently only Social Security has for the payment of benefits and the health field and the National Police for its management of the DNI.
The second major measure refers to the set of acts that can be done electronically as soon as the rule comes into force. Practically all the corporate ones stand out, such as the constitution of companies, appointments, powers of attorney, as well as the granting of corporate acts that do not contain real estate or commercial establishment contributions. In commercial policies, the remission of these by the credit institution to the notarial electronic headquarters will imply their consent to the documented business.
Also, procedural powers of attorney to act before the Public Administration, as well as electoral powers, powers of attorney for specific acts or their revocation may be processed electronically. Likewise, payment letters or mortgage cancellations may be authorized remotely. In general terms, “those acts and legal transactions that, according to their nature, can be granted by videoconference prior instruction from the General Directorate of Legal Security and Public Faith”, specifies the text of the law.
In short, it seems that it will soon be possible to banish the image of the representative of an SME who goes to the notary’s office with a folder full of papers for an ordinary procedure and, furthermore, if he has forgotten any, he will not be able to complete his management during that visit and You will have to come back another day.
Notary website. With the new norm it will be possible, in addition to requesting an appointment, receiving advice or requesting simple copies (already available in the notarial portal), to carry out almost all mercantile notarial services through the notarial portal. In the short term, it has been decided to focus on corporate activity, but it is expected to extend to the most common acts carried out by citizens, such as making a will or signing a mortgage.
Own space. In Notaries, there is a simple copy, which only has informative value, and an authorized copy. The latter can be electronic, but until now it only circulated with full validity to judges, prosecutors and the Administration. The future law contemplates that authorized copies of companies and individuals can circulate. Through the notarial electronic headquarters, each company or citizen can already have their own notarial space where their documents are kept. “This is how we respond to what citizens want today, legal certainty and maximum agility”, they clarify in the Notary Public.
single market. The fourth measure is committed to the telematic constitution of a company in which the owner is a Belgian or a German and that can be executed in any EU country where there are notaries. And if it is safe for Europe, why not for Spain? The law includes the online constitution of Spanish limited companies, if the employer so wishes.