Official website of Notaires de France

The Notary's Role


A French notary is a legal specialist with a public authority mission who draws up authenticated contracts on behalf of his clients.

He is self-employed.­

  • French notary - a public officer

    • A French notary is a public officer who operates in every area of law including family, property inheritance , asset, company law, countryside law, local authorities, etc.

    • He acts on behalf of the State and is appointed by the Minister of Justice, and the fact that an instrument is drawn up by a French notary is a guarantee of its legality and authenticity. All this means that the French notary are vested with prerogatives of official authority which they receive from the State.

    • Under the terms of Article 1 of the Order dated 2 November 1945 regarding the status of French notary :
      "Notaires are public officers authorised to record any instrument or contract the parties to which are obliged, or may wish, to invest with the type of authenticity associated with public authority  instruments ".

  • French notary - a professionnal for authenticating instruments

    • The French notary is empowered to authenticate instruments by affixing his seal and signature.

    • By so doing he officially witnesses the wishes expressed by the signatories and gives hispersonal guarantee regarding the content and date of the  instrument .

    • Such instruments then have the legal status of a final judgment.

    • As such, the French notary is an amicable judge and dispensers of out-of-court justice.

  • French notary - a self-employed professionnal

    • Although he has a public authority, the French notary operates on a self-employed basis and is responsible for his own office, thereby providing a modern type of public service that costs nothing to the State.

    • He is a self-employed professional who is paid by his clients (and not the taxpayers) on the basis of a rate fixed by the State for the services he provides.

    • See the page dedicated to the notaire's fee.

  • French notary - a professionnal present thoughout the country

    • The location of Civil Law Notary offices is reviewed on an ongoing basis under the supervision of the Central Administration of the Ministry of Justice, known as the Chancellerie.

    • This location review has three objectives:
      - to maintain a locally-accessible public service focused on legal matters,
      - to take account of geographical and population change,
      - to oversee the financial conditions under which the profession is carried out with a view to ensuring quality of service.

    • Consult the last figures of the profession.

See also


European Certificate of Inheritance