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Civil Law Notaries - serving land tenure security worldwide

The question of how land ownership is organised is essential in any country seeking economic development. It is through the delivery of reliable securities that the property market of a country can organize itself harmoniously.


A credible system of securing land transactions is hinged around 3 pillars

  1. Accurate identification of real estate on plans (cadastre, ortho-photos or satellite photo) and verification of the identity and legal capacity of individuals.
  2. A real estate register which lists all the legal acts concerning all the real estate of all the persons having a right of nature of land.
  3. An indisputable deed that offers almost perfect legal security (sale, sharing , donation ...).,

The interest of these 3 pillars:

  • legal: determine with certainty who possesses what and under what conditions,
  • social: to enable the poorest to defend their rights over the land and to have access to public infrastructures.
  • economic: to avoid a long and costly conflict with the owner of the land right and to give him access to credit.
  • fiscal: to inform the public authorities of the identity of the holders of a land right to collect the tax .

The notary and the title of real estate

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 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.

Titling: the concrete actions of French notariat to secure land transactions

Since June 2007, the Commission Titration federates initiatives and coordinates joint action plans. On November 10, 2009, a conference was held at the Superior Council of Notaries under the patronage of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, bringing together all the actors in this field around the theme "Tenure security and economic growth: the titling of real estate ownership in developing countries ". The International Union of Notaries organized six international conferences in January 2012 in Burkina Faso, in January 2013 in Mexico, in December 2014 in Ho Cho Minh in Vietnam, in December 2017 in Niamey and Thessaloniki, and in June 2018 in Sarajevo. topic.

To date, several actions have been carried out with our partners:

  • Togo: audit report submitted to the Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister on 24 June 2009, in partnership with surveyors.
  • Montenegro: audit mission for UNDP from 22 to 27 February 2010.
  • Haiti: participation in the interministerial French cadastre / land tenure security project since June 2010.
  • Vietnam: March 2011 submission of the audit report on land security in the three economic centers of the country (Hanoi, Danang, Ho Chi Minh) in partnership with IGN International, Bull and ADETEF.
  • Mali: seminar organized with the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie in Bamako on 14 and 15 April 2011 on land security; following this seminar, mission entrusted by the Minister of land of Mali to carry out an audit, currently suspended in view of the internal situation in Mali. Work in progress with the French Ministry of the Economy on this subject.
  • Egypt: representatives of the notariat then went to Egypt from June 26 to 28, 2011 for a preliminary assessment mission of the reform of the land registration system.
  • Qatar: At the request of the Ministry of Justice of Qatar, a delegation from the Notariat visited Doha, Qatar, from 20 to 22 June 2011, to carry out an assessment mission of the country's land system and formulate proposals for an improvement of the existing regulation of disputes at the level of the Courts of Appeal concern the land).
  • Madagascar: collaboration with the National Land Program of the Minister of Territorial Planning and Decentralization; audit mission in 2010 and evaluation missions in 2011 and 2012, in particular for the World Bank. Continuation of training.
  • Tunisia: Urban land audit delivered in June 2012 for the Marseille Center for Integration in the Mediterranean.
  • Colombia: signature of a cooperation agreement on April 23, 2013, renewed in 2015 and audit missions. The report was handed over to the country's political authorities.
  • Burkina Faso: providing expertise on the Agricultural Investment Code for the Euro-African Institute for Economic Development (INEADEC) chaired by Michel Rocard, OECD partner, in September 2013.
  • Mauritius: Response to tender from the Mauritius Government 2018 to obtain texts allowing the legal framework and the management of Smart Cities. A multidisciplinary team of experts has been convened by the CSN to respond to this invitation to tender from the Mauritian government. In 6 months, the team worked on the realization of 3 Kits:
    - A co- ownership kit containing a bill and accompanying documents
    - A kit of the land association composed of proposals of new legislative provisions and models of specifications
    - And a kit of the division in volumes.
    The legislative texts were adopted by the Mauritian Parliament on November 9, 2018 and applicable on March 1, 2019. The country is now endowed with modern legislative provisions intended to frame the Smart Cities.

Serving land tenure security: cooperation with national and international organizations

The High Council of French Notariat has participated actively in the elaboration of the Voluntary Guiding Principles on land tenure security, launched by the United Nations (UNDP and FAO) and the World Bank in particular under the program "legal empowerment of the poor". And adopted on 11 May 2012. He participates in UN-Habitat's work on land tenure security in urban areas and works on principles for responsible agricultural investment (FAO). He is recognized as an expert by the World Bank in this area, participates in its think tanks and regularly speaks at its annual conference on "Land and Poverty".

The Africa Regional Assembly of the Francophone Parliamentary Assembly has also decided to initiate a reflection on securing land titles in Africa, after hearing representatives of the Association of Francophone Notariat. A resolution was adopted on May 22, 2009 in Dakar (Senegal) to this effect. In parallel, Me Harissou, notary in Cameroon and Secretary General of the Association of Francophone Notariat, published his book "The land, a human right" to Dunod editions. A first awareness-raising seminar for parliamentarians was held on April 6, 2010 in Yaoundé (Cameroon) and a second in Bamako (Mali) on April 14 and 15, 2011. They resulted in a recommendation voted at the Francophonie Summit in Kinshasa on October 14, 2012 encouraging the creation of a secure and simplified title. The principle of creating a working committee on this subject was voted on by the plenary assembly of the APF in Abidjan in July 2013.

Moreover, the notariat was heard in Brussels in 2012 both by the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and by the European Parliament's "Development" Parliamentary Committee on the subject. Together with the Investor Council for Africa (CIAN), it has set up a reflection committee on the importance of land tenure security for the implementation of businesses in Africa. A common ground action is under consideration in Congo-Brazzaville. Finally, the High Council of French Notariat is an active member of the Technical Land Committee of the French Development Agency.