30th Congress of German Civil Law Notaries in Hamburg provides insights into the future of our legal system

Forming a limited liability company from home? Determining the validity of a power of attorney in a few seconds using blockchain technology? At the 30th Congress of German Civil Law Notaries, held as a hybrid event in Hamburg on 27 and 28 May 2021, high-ranking representatives from politics, the judiciary, academia and business discussed the opportunities and risks of digitalisation for the administration of justice.

"The theme of the Congress of German Civil Law Notaries could not have been more topical," says Prof. Dr. Jens Bormann, President of the Bundesnotarkammer. "We were able to show that our profession has been actively promoting digitalisation, even prior to Corona. ” This was also recognised by the Federal President, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in his welcoming address: "For the notaries, the  challenges related to digitalisation have long been a top priority and for several years now, the Bundesnotarkammer has been advocating enhanced digitilisation in the area of preventive administration of justice.”

All participants at the Congress were generally open to technical innovations and emphasised that the opportunities of digitalisation must be used for the benefit of the citizens seeking justice. At the same time, the value of the notarial activity was highlighted and the limits of digitalisation were discussed. The Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, Christine Lambrecht, said: "The core tasks of the notary cannot be automated: neither expert and impartial advice nor the investigation of the parties’ intentions by the notary. And a liberal and social legal system cannot do without these services." Hamburg's Senator of Justice Anna Gallina also emphasised: "Being open-minded towards digital solutions and dealing with their advantages and disadvantages must always be our first priority. After all, it is important to generate real added value for all entities involved in digitalisation. The pursuit of digitalisation and the simplification of processes is right and important. However, one should not forget to also ensure that the solutions found are legally secure."

The Bundesnotarkammer presented two of its current digitilisation projects at the Congress of German Civil Law Notaries. The first of these projects was its video communication system for fully online formations of German limited liability companies to the public for the first time (further information at https://onlineverfahren.notar.de). "It is a modern and user-friendly system that meets the highest security standards," states Prof. Dr. Bormann. The second project debuted by the Bundesnotarkammer was the Register of valid powers of attorney and inheritance certificates on a blockchain basis, which it developed together with the Bavarian Ministry of Justice and the Frauenhofer Institute (further information at https://www.bnotk.de/en/news/details/innovation-prize-for-the-judiciarys-first-co-operative-blockchain-project). "The project has already been awarded various prizes. We will therefore strive to lay the legal foundations for the Register of valid powers of attorney and inheritance certificates in the next legislative period," says Prof. Dr. Bormann.

Detailed information on the Congress of Notaries is available at https://www.notartag.de/. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Martin Thelen, the press spokesman of the Bundesnotarkammer.

Click here to access the photo gallery:
Impressions from the 30th Congress of German Civil Law Notaries

Federal President Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier in a video address at the opening of the 30th Congress of German Civil Law Notaries on May 28, 2021 in Hamburg

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