Estonia's Nove law firm has successfully represented Tallinn Notary Triin Sild in a dispute involving the scope of notary duties, in which the Estonian Supreme Court clarified when a notary may refuse to perform a notarial act.
According to a summary on the Nove website, "in the ruling, the Supreme Court held that a notary must not only verify the validity of a transaction (e.g., whether the transaction is in compliance with the law, good morals, or whether the standard terms and conditions have been violated); The notary must therefore seek to ensure the lawfulness of the acts to be certified, thus providing legal certainty and legal certainty. However, the notary has neither the right nor the obligation to settle civil disputes between the parties to the transaction. On the other hand, a notary may refuse to perform an official act only on the grounds provided by law, which means in other words that a notary may not obstruct legal proceedings for any reason provided by law."
According to Nove, "the Supreme Court also emphasized in the ruling that a notary must refuse to perform a certificate if there is a high likelihood that the purposes of the measure sought are contrary to law, regulation or good morals or are unacceptable and dishonest. The application of this principle should not be limited, for example, to cases where the counter-party itself declares to the notary, either in writing or verbally, that the purpose of the transaction is dishonest, etc. The notary's refusal to certify the transaction requires a certain decision interests".
"In conclusion," the firm reported, "the principles established in this ruling provide notaries with the right and duty to refuse to certify a transaction when they become aware, in connection with the certification of the transaction, that the purposes pursued by the transaction are contrary to law or good morals or unlawful and dishonest. Thus, the principles emphasized in the ruling reinforce the notary's role as a guarantor of legal certainty and clarity."
The Nove team was lead by Partner Urmas Volens and Attorney-at-Law Heili Puumann.