Official website of Notaires de France

Civil Law Notaries - serving land tenure security worldwide


The question of how land ownership is organised is essential in any country seeking economic development.

  • What is the link between land economics and land tenure ?

    • An efficient land ownership system can bind farmers to their land by encouraging them to develop it, safe in the knowledge that they can generate returns on investment.

    • Secure property transactions reassure companies wishing to make long-term industrial or tourism investments.

    • Lastly, the economic growth of a developing country depends upon credit for all. Granting of credit requires guarantees and the most important guarantee is property security. Individuals therefore need credible instruments of title.

    • It is therefore by issuing reliable instruments of title that a country's property market can be organised on a sound footing: reform of the land laws is usually necessary.

  • A credible system of securing land transactions is hinged around 3 points :

    • an accurate, concrete identification of a property based on drawings, records or photos (land registry or satellite photos),

    • an instrument that gives virtually watertight legal certainty (sale,  division gifts , etc.),

    • a property register that lists all legal instruments relating to all property and all owners.

    • These three points have three advantages :
      - legal : incontrovertibly establishes who owns what and under what conditions,
      - economic : enables holders of instruments of title to use them, particularly to obtain credit and invest,
      - tax: informs the public authorities about the identity of owners so they can collect taxes related to ownership.

    • Issuing instruments of title remains the civil law notary's core business. This is why the civil law notary has decided to devote considerable energy to the campaign for land reforms. This campaign is also part of the French notarial profession’s general policy aimed at contributing, along with the other players in the property field and in a spirit of respect for cultural diversity, to establishing a State governed by the rule of law which is the cornerstone of economic development.

  • Titling

    • Right of ownership is a fundamental right of individuals: as a reminder, according to international law, individuals’ rights of ownership are more sacred than the sovereign rights of States because they stipulate that even though States may lose territory, the owners of property located on the said territory retain their ownership.

    • Titling is linked to the main concerns of developing countries: the fight against extreme poverty, economic development, food insecurity, women’s rights, peace between people, microcredit, and sustainable development.

  • The first concrete actions of the Civil Law Notary

    • Il existe des conventions internationales relatives à l'adoption entre la France et certains pays. Des organismes autorisés peuvent vous aider dans vos démarches. Les procédures varient selon le pays d'origine de l'enfant à adopter. Vous pouvez obtenir des informations auprès du service des affaires européennes internationales du ministère de la justice.

      Le parcours de l'adoption est souvent long et difficile. N­'hésitez pas à rencontrer votre notaire au sujet de ces différentes manières d'adopter. Il vous en expliquera les conséquences juridiques et fiscales.

    • Target countries : To date 7 target countries have been selected for which audit assignments have been or will be organised as a priority :
      Togo : Assignment from 17 to 22 November 2008: the audit report was issued to the Minister of Justice and Prime Minister in June 2009 (in partnership with the chartered surveyors)
      Vietnam : Audit assignment in the country’s three business hubs (Hanoi, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City). The audit report is to be issued in April 2010 (in partnership with IGN International, Bull and the NGO ADETEF. Assignment financed by the French Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment).
      Burkina-Faso : Assignment from 11 to 14 January 2009,
      Benin : support project to be performed
      Madagascar : support project to be performed
      - Montenegro: 
      audit of land assignment at the request of UNDP
      - Haïti : Project audit mission of land in connection with the OIF and UNDP.

    • The 3 pillars of titling : The search for partners is hinged around the three pillars of titling
      Land identification : design and engineering consulting firms, IGN (French National Geographic Institute), EADS, etc.
      Legal aspect: law professors, legal specialists, administrative reform specialists, sociologists, etc.
      Land files: IT services, etc.

    • Finance tools : The financing is supported by various French, European and international organisations :
      - European Development Fund (EDF)
      - World Bank,
      - MCA (Millenium Challenge Account),
      - APD (Aide publique au Développement français – Public Support to French Development)

  • Commitment of the Association Parlementaire Francophone (French-Speaking Parliamentary Association) 

    • After hearing representatives from the ANF (Association du Notariat Francophone -­ Association of the French-Speaking Civil law notary), the APF’s African Regional Assembly decided to initiate discussions on securing title deeds in Africa for which a resolution was adopted on 22 May 2009 in Dakar (Senegal).­

    • The Regional Assembly emphasised the major challenges underlying this complex, highly sensitive issue in terms of economic and social development, and highlighted the need to consider all the legal realities that exist in Africa. In close cooperation with the International Organisation of La Francophonie, it wanted two seminars to be organised, one in Central Africa, the other in West Africa. 

    • The work was led by Mr Mamadou Seck, Chairman of the National Assembly of Senegal and Mr Guy Nzouba Ndama, Chairman of the APF and Chairman of the National Assembly of Gabon. It brought together 14 sections and three delegations directed by Assembly Chairmen. The work was performed in the presence of Mr Jacques Legendre, a French Senator and APF’s Parliamentary Secretary General.

    • Following the seminars and hearing the French notary before the Parliamentary Assembly Francophone "Africa" ​​meeting Francophonie Summit, "October 11, 2012 in Kinshasa (DRC), a specific recommendation to Secure Title Simplified (TSS) was taken. Francophone Parliamentary Assembly "encourages actions to promote the emergence of a better land management on the African continent including the creation of a simplified and secure land titling." for this purpose, the French notaries will participate in the francophone Parliamentary Assembly in Yaoundé (Cameroon) in May 2013.

  • The 28th International Congress of notaries will take place in Paris

On the same subject :

See also


French property market report / N°31


European Certificate of Inheritance


Participate in the 28th Congress of the International Union of Notaries in Paris!