| Chamber of Notaries of the Republic of Estonia
Address: Tatari 25 10116 Tallinn
Phone: +372 617 7900
Fax: +372 617 7901
The second period of independence - the Republic of Estonia 1991 - 1998Estonia freed itself from a strange power almost 50 years after annexation, on 20 July 1991 the Supreme Council declared the regaining of independence by Estonia by a legal document 'National Independence of Estonia'. This document was followed by international recognition of Estonia as a sovereign state. The new Constitution was adopted by referendum on 28 June 1992. After the Constitution was adopted, the country started to develop and apply its own legislation.
On 1 November 1993 the Republic of Estonia Notaries Act came into effect, which changed the previous notaries' offices system into a Latin notary system pursuant to which a notary is a public official of a liberal profession. The notaries' offices reform started. Estonian Notaries' Offices joined the European Notaries, continuing as well the traditions they adhered to in the Republic of Estonia before 1940. The former state notaries' offices system has become a free notaries' offices system, where a notary has the status of a free public official.
The change was caused due to the circumstance that the state was unable to offer notarial services in the required volume and did not want to assume related organisational work and costs to bear. The growth of the number of notarial acts was caused by the development of Estonia towards the market economy and its approach to civil law relationships of Western Europe and Nordic countries.
In addition to the Notaries Act, the professional activities of notaries are regulated by the Notaries Disciplinary Action Act, Notary Fees Act, Notarisation Act, Articles of Association of the Chamber of Notaries, Notaries' Offices Regulation, Regulation on the Performance of Notarial Acts Arising from the Succession Act.
The enforced Notaries Act enabled the present state notaries to apply for the status of a notary in private law. As a result, the Minister of Justice appointed 46 notaries to the office in 1993.
Pursuant to the Notaries Act, the Chamber of Notaries was formed; all notaries assigned to the office are members of the Chamber of Notaries. The task of the Chamber of Notaries is the representation and protection of professional interests of notaries, unification of performing notarial acts, coordination of professional activities of notaries, organisation of in-service training of notaries and of candidate service, likewise the application of measures by notaries to ensure the diligent performance of their duties, participation in supervision, and monitoring of the observance of notaries' professional ethics.
The highest body of the Chamber of Notaries is the general meeting, which is held at least once a year. The meeting has the competence to adopt the Articles of Association of the Chamber of Notaries, elect the Board, Auditing Committee, and Court of Honour, approve the annual budget, and provide notaries with binding instructions for professional activities. Besides, the general meeting of the Chamber of Notaries fixes the size of mandatory payments effected by notaries, and resolves on the issues of remuneration of notary candidates.
The Board of the Chamber of Notaries comprising seven members is a permanent directing body; it is elected for a term of three years. The first Board was elected on 1 November 1993.The Board holds its meetings at least once a month and resolves on all issues that are not placed within the exclusive competence of the general meeting. The current Board was elected in November 2002. The managing staff organises the day-to-day activity of the Chamber of Notaries. Also, notary candidates, who are not being trained by a notary, act at the Chamber of Notaries and perform the tasks assigned by the latter.
28. May 1995 the Estonian Chamber of Notaries became a member of the International Union of Latin Notaries. Due to this Estonian notaries were able to become visit notaries' offices of other countries, exchange their professional experience and improve the notaries' activities in their home country.
The notaries' offices reform has been performed relatively successfully, and, given the Estonian conditions, the chosen Latin notaries' offices model has justified itself.