God bless notaries!


I am a lawyer. I went to St.-Petersburg University, the same as Putin and Medvedev. Later, I spent a fortune studying law in Britain. But I wish I were a notary. Because a notary is where the real power and money lie.

Some time ago I worked in one of the largest trading companies in Russia. Being on the Board I had a pretty good salary, but soon I noticed that our construction manager, much below me in the company's hierarchy, had a better car and, if you looked really close, appeared much better off. Why is that? Because you can't get both, money and glory.

Amendments to the Federal Law 'On Limited Liability Companies', which come into effect on July 1, require that sale of shares in limited liability companies is witnessed by a notary. Otherwise, the transaction will be void. In addition, a notary will now inform the Companies Registrar of a share transfer and is meant to oversee the legality of transactions.

Unlike in some other countries, a Russian solicitor can't act as a notary; the number of notaries, being restricted, is comparatively small. Limited liability company is the most popular form of legal entity in Russia, covering, perhaps, 80% of enterprises. The number of transactions now to be notarised is astronomical.

Russian notaries have become the pet of the state. Their job is not rocket science - far from that. In fact, it is quite dull. They just need to be reasonably impartial, moderately accurate, and relatively resistant to corruption. In short, they do what the authorities can't.



E. Istomina