To this day, notarial powers of attorney and judicial certificates of inheritance have been exclusively issued in paper form. If they lose their validity, the paper documents must be regained or, if necessary, declared invalid by a public notice approved by the court. This process often takes several weeks, during which the powers of attorney and certificates of inheritance continue to circulate. “During this period of time, there is a certain risk of abuse”, explains Prof. Dr. Jens Bormann, President of the Bundesnotarkammer. “Besides, the documents often get lost or are not available when they are most needed”, Bormann continues.
The first nationwide blockchain project of the judiciary, which is a joint undertaking of the Bundesnotarkammer and the Bavarian Ministry of Justice, is precisely addressing this problem. The Bavarian Minister of Justice Georg Eisenreich says: “The world of tomorrow is digital. We want to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalisation. The new technological possibilities of blockchain can simplify and accelerate certain procedures in the future. They will allow fully electronic access to valid documents of legitimacy.” With scientific support from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (Business Information Technology Project Group), the participants have developed a prototype for an electronic register for valid powers of attorney in just a few months. Important documents can now be stored on the smartphone and checked or, if necessary, blocked within seconds.
“What takes three months in the paper world could in future be done with a few clicks. Such a register helps consumers and also our courts to save money and time”, Eisenreich continues. “The register creates legal certainty as to whether an electronic document is still valid. In addition to validity its content is also important. Individual advice from notaries remains important for tailor-made solutions. Technology is a good complement to this – so we combine the best of two worlds”, summarizes Bormann.
The development of a blockchain-based register for valid powers of attorney has already convinced for a second time in a competition. In only May 2020, the project was awarded the “Innovation Prize for Real Laboratories” of the Federal Ministry of Economics. Yesterday evening, the idea was awarded bronze for the “Best Cooperation Project 2020” of the eGovernment competition under the patronage of the head of the Chancellery, Prof. Dr. Helge Braun, out of a total of over 80 participating projects. "We are delighted about this award in the category of ‘Best Cooperation Project 2020’ as it shows how judiciary and notaries work together fruitfully”, said Bormann.
“The project is the first blockchain cooperation in the judiciary. We will continue to push the project forward. In the future, this technology could also be used in other administrative areas”, Eisenreich concluded.