Notaries are public officials, nominated by the State after passing an extremely selective public competition, but they work as self-employed individuals, keeping an autonomous relationship to the public administration. They take responsibility, therefore, for their work and they can be held directly responsible for their mistakes, if and when they might happen. For this reason, notaries are covered by an insurance policy for the damage they might cause to the client.
Notaries are assigned a head office through a competitive process. In every city or town of a certain stature there is at least one, if not more than one notary. Citizens can, therefore, count on the fact that there is normally more than one notary where they live, or fairly close by, and they can decide freely whom to contact.
The notary, even when chosen by one of the parties, can never look after the interest of only one party to the other party’s detriment. The notary’s role is to be impartial and to provide all parties with neutral advice, with the aim of reaching an agreement that is clear and definitive. The intervention of the notary prevents the emergence of disagreements between the parties and avoids the proliferation of legal controversies, and it can be said to carry out, in this way, an important social function.
The notary acts, moreover, as a guarantor in two important ways. He verifies the formal accuracy of the deed and ensures that the final aim of the parties is reached, and at the same time he safeguards the community by verifying that the content of the deed is in line with the law. The difference between our system and those in which the function of the notary consists in a sheer confirmation of the identity of the person signing the deed is, therefore, evident.