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The origin of a notarial profession

To authenticate transactions, to certify the correctness of translation of documents, as well as to perform other legally significant actions, it is common practice to contact notaries. The history of the notarial profession begins from the moment when legal acts and contracts began to need qualifications, written form, and public authenticity.

The scribes of Ancient Rome are considered the predecessor of notaries. They were obliged to draw up various kinds of messages and petitions, to document transactions. One part of those specialists was in the civil service, the second was kept by private individuals.

There was also a third category of scribes who executed legal documents. They were called tabellions. These citizens were free; however they carried out their activities under government control. People who had the necessary legal knowledge, enrolled in a special association and approved by the city prefect became tabellions. Actually, these specialists are considered the “ancestors” of the notarial profession.


How did the profession develop?

Some historians consider the time of the Christianisation, that is, the 10-11th centuries, to be an approximate period of the appearance of notaries in Ancient Rus. However, the first record of this institute dates back to the 15th century and is found in the Pskov Judicial Charter. A century later, a special social category of street copyists appeared, certifying the conclusion of transactions for a fee. Peter I cancelled their activities, and their functions were transferred to serf scribes.

In 1866, the position of a notary was established. The specialists were required to be attached to each district court. Since that time, the notary has become an independent institution with a wide range of activities.

In 1918, the notary was abolished, because the need to regulate public relations associated with private property and the protection of material rights disappeared. Instead, notary bureaus were created.

A new round of development of the legal institution coincides with the collapse of the USSR and the transition to a market economy. In 1993, a bill was signed reviving the sovereign Latin-type notary.