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Transition: retrospectives and perspectives
Chapter II. Law Enforcing Institutions
Following a brief historical overview of the development of the institution of notary in the Republic of Moldova, the author notes that the adoption of the Law on Notaries in 1997 was a step forward towards enhancing the institution of notary and the civil circuit in the Republic of Moldova. The major pre-requisite for the adoption of that law were the emergence of private ownership and the subsequent increase in the demand for notary services.
Since 1998 when the first public notaries were sworn in, the Moldovan institution of notary has undergone a number of positive developments, such as, among other things, a notable upgrading in the quality of services, an important increase in the number of notary offices, and a proportionate increase in the income these bring to the state budget. The Law on Notaries, which is a sound, well-balanced law, has been largely compromised upon its actual implementation, not least by the notaries themselves who have often lacked the appropriate juridical culture to take a professional attitude towards their profession. According to the author, a large number of current Moldovan notaries, although law graduates, lack the necessary training and skills to meet the requirements of their profession. As many fail to keep up-to-date with the legislative changes related to their practice.
The reform of the institution of notary in Moldova started almost simultaneously with the judicial reform. Unlike the latter, though, the reform of the notary system proceeded smoother and in a short period of time upgraded its services up to current requirements. The only controversy surrounding the institution of notary has been the issue of fees for services. Apart from the fees on papers of personal interest, notary fees are reasonable, and are an issue only because of the generally low incomes of the Moldovan population. Thus, suggestions made to solve this controversy such as reverting to the state notary system or instituting a mixed private-public system are inopportune, all the more so as they might seriously jeopardize the entire civil circuit in Moldova. While most of the issues the notary system in Moldova faces are of operational rather than legislative order, improvement rather than revolution is what it needs. Important in this sense is a revision of the relationship between the Justice Ministry and notaries, with the need for the former to enhance its function of supervising the notary and at the same time come up with a strategic policy of developing the notary.
As for the institution of notary itself, the author suggests the need to balance the notary fees, take measures to cut down on fiscal evasion by notaries, develop insurance against notary services, organize regular examinations of notaries, encourage continuous professional upgrading of notaries, and tighten up the rules on the professional and disciplinary responsibility of notaries.