In 2016, Sh. Mirziyoyev was elected as the President of independent Uzbekistan, and one of the first laws adopted by him was the “The Strategy of Actions for the five priority areas of development of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021.”
The main objectives of “The strategy of Actions” are to improve the system of state and public construction, ensure the rule of law and further reform the judicial system, economic development and liberalization, development of the social sphere, security, interethnic harmony, religious tolerance and implementation of balanced, mutually beneficial and constructive foreign policy.
The issues of radical improvement of the quality of legal aid and legal services provided to the population, reform of the notarial sphere are also identified in this document.
The establishment of private notaries in Uzbekistan from 2020 is the result of the implementation of the function set out in the document.
Consistent measures have been taken in the country to reform the notary, to form it as one of the vital institutions ensuring the rights of individuals and legal entities by performing the functions of preventive justice and prevention legal disputes.
In particular, in accordance with the analysis of the Ministry of Justice, a number of systemic problems and shortcomings were identified in the activities of notaries that impede the full implementation of state policy in the judicial sphere as well as the full use of the potential of notaries in preventing economic, family, hereditary, housing, labor and other disputes.
The followings were set as problems and shortcomings in the field:
Low quality and speed of notarial services provided to the population;
the presence of long queues in notary offices;
lack of widespread practice of performing notarial acts directly at the settlements;
the notary system lags behind the development of society;
low level of introduction of modern innovative and information and communication technologies;
insufficient interdepartmental electronic cooperation;
non-use of audio and video recording in some notarial transactions;
the system of retraining and advanced training of notaries and staff of notarial offices does not allow to systematically address the issues of formation of the notary corps with highly qualified personnel;
insufficient harmonization of curricula and programs for retraining and advanced training of notaries with notarial practice;
the fact that the internship process is long and complicated;
the lack of the effective mechanism for monitoring the proper performance of their functional duties by notaries, in particular, the remote control.
In accordance with the “Action Strategy” and in order to increase the role and importance of the notary institution in protecting the rights and legitimate interests of individuals and legal entities, as well as to improve the quality of notarial services to the population, on May 25, 2018, the Resolution PP-No-3741 “On measures to further improve the system of notaries as an institution of preventive justice ” was signed by the President.
What is the significance of this Resolution for the sphere of notaries?
According to this Resolution, within the framework of the active model of notary, Administrative Regulations on cooperation with state bodies and organizations in the approval of agreements by notaries on the principle of “single window” were adopted. Databases and information systems were introduced for information exchange and integration into the automated information system “Notary”, Requirements for mandatory notarization of real estate lease and free use agreements have been abolished. A mechanism for mandatory audio and video recording of wills and the process of signing certain agreements, applications and other documents was implemented. The identification of the applicants was done by scanning their fingerprints and comparing them with the biometric data in their passports Also, the process of notarization by performing scanning the signatures and fingerprints of the applicants is put into practice. The internship period for candidates for the position of notary has been reduced from two years to one year, and the practice of real-time audio and video broadcasting of selecting the candidates for the position of notary on a competitive basis has been introduced. Curricula and programs for retraining and advanced training of notaries, including classes on non-psychological procedures and skills (stress management, conflict management, effective organization of working hours) were provided. In order to increase the population’s access to notarial services, the criteria for determining the positions of notaries in the notarial district were revised.
Moreover, Ministry of Justice has improved the automated information system “Notary” in order to provide comprehensive automation of the process of collecting information on notarial activities, their generalization and all types of information cooperation with relevant state bodies and organizations when performing notarial actions.
Warranty not to deviate from the law is increased
It is noteworthy, that the automated information system “Notary” clearly reflects all the actions of a notary, allows online monitoring of the actions of notaries and ensures that they do not deviate from the law, online monitoring of illegal actions allows you to quickly identify and take appropriate action.
There are no queues as before …
Another opportunity for population was the implementation of an electronic queue. Today, before going to the notary, you register in the electronic queue through the site e-notarius.uz and visit notary at the appointed time. This has put an end to long waitings and loss of valuable time in notaries.
In order to protect the property rights of legal entities and individuals, the property obligations of notaries engaged in private practice are also defined. At the same time, the law establishes that a notary engaged in private practice is liable with his property for obligations arising from causing property damage to an individual or legal entity and (or) third parties when performing notarial actions.
At the same time, notaries engaged in private practice were required to insure their civil liability.
This is the first stage of reforms in the notary system.
The second stage of reforms in the notarial sphere started with the signing of the Presidential Decree No. 5816 “On measures to radically reform the notarial system in the Republic of Uzbekistan.”
One of the important aspects of the second stage is that on May 1, 2020, the notary sector was transformed from a state system into a non-state one, and a system of notaries engaged in private practice began to operate in Uzbekistan.
In order to create convenience for individuals and legal entities, the procedure for notarization of power of attorney for the management of vehicles between close relatives has been abolished.
Besides, requirements for obtaining permission from local authorities in the sale of unfinished housing and obtaining the consent of the guardianship and trusteeship authority in the lease (rent) of housing on behalf of the guardian and the procedure for leasing, free use of the enterprise, leasing of property in the primary market and mandatory notarization of pledge (mortgage) agreements have been outlawed.
Several new notarial actions were introduced. New notarial actions have been introduced to replace the canceled ones. These include notarial actions in civil law relations, such as providing evidence in pre-trial proceedings, acting as an intermediary in property and inheritance issues, confirming the time of filing copyright and related rights. In addition, most of the notarial actions can now be formalized according to the principle of extraterritoriality. Accordingly, individuals and legal entities have had the opportunity to register notarial acts in any region, regardless of their place of residence.
Also, some notarial acts can be registered remotely via videoconferencing, as well as a copy of the documents certified by notaries can be taken through the Single interactive portal of public services.
Fortunately, the implementation of these mechanisms will help to eliminate unnecessary queues, provide the population with access to quality notarial services, create a free competitive environment in the industry, prevent excessive bureaucracy and corruption.
Another important aspect of the second stage of reforms has been the establishment of the Notary Chamber of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Departments of the Notary Chamber are established in every region of the country. Currently, all notaries engaged in private practice, which make up 95% of the existing notaries in Uzbekistan, are members of the Notary Chamber.
The main functions of the Notary Chamber are coordination of the activities of notaries engaged in private practice, improving legislation and law enforcement practices. Additionally, the development of proposals for the uniform application of legislation, to represent and protect the rights and legitimate interests of notaries engaged in private practice in relations with government agencies and other organizations, in court and in other cases is considered the basic functions of the Chamber. Furthermore, The Notary Chamber performs other functions, including strengthening the role of notaries, increasing the prestige of the notary profession, taking measures to ensure a single notarial practice, development of guidelines for notarial actions, monitoring the compliance of notaries with the legislation on notaries, the rules of their professional ethics. The Notary Chamber cooperates with the relevant state authorities and administration, non-governmental non-profit organizations on issues of notarial activities.
Today, the Notary Chamber monitors the observance of legislation, rules of professional ethics and professional obligations by notaries engaged in private practice.
In order to ensure the impartiality and transparency of decisions made against notaries, the Notary Chamber is directly involved in the recruitment of notary trainees, the qualification examination of candidates, the application of sanctions against notaries.
One of the important tasks of the Notary Chamber is to further raise the legal awareness of the population and provide them with legal advice.
In this regard, the channel and pages of “Notary’s Advice” have created in the Facebook and Telegram social networks, through which the public is provided with free legal explanations in the field of notaries and answers to their questions 24 hours a day.
Our work continued in quarantine …
During the quarantine period, notaries prepared about 200 different videos, mainly answers to citizens’ questions about notarial actions. Videos were posted on social networks, online television and radio broadcasts were also organized, in which citizens could receive online answers to their questions. The Chamber of Notaries also effectively works to protect the rights and improve the legal knowledge of notaries. During the year, about 10 proposals were developed to improve the legislation of the notary system. The Chamber has prepared an electronic manual in the form of “Audiobook” on notarial legislation and distributed among notaries and the general public.
The Notary Chamber has created its own website (https://notarialpalata.uz/) and the website is used in three languages – Uzbek, Russian and English.
The Notary Chamber is also working to establish and develop international relations. Today a Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed with the Notary Chamber of the Republic of Lithuania;
Chamber took part in a web symposium of European and Asian notaries;
held a “master class” for consuls of the Republic of Uzbekistan operating in foreign countries.
Currently, organizational measures are being taken to join the International Union of Notaries.