As a publicly appointed official, the notary works in the entire field of preventive administration of justice. By acting in a supportive and advisory capacity, the notary helps in numerous ways to prevent disputes from arising in the first place or to settle existing disputes by finding a mutually acceptable solution.
But even in cases where an amicable solution is not possible, the notary – as an independent and impartial party with the necessary expertise – can act as an arbitrator and settle a dispute. By involving a notary, lengthy and costly litigation in court can often be avoided.
When involving a notary as a professional advisor in connection with the conclusion of a contract, disputes between the various parties often do not arise in the first place. This is true for all phases of a contract, from the initial consultation and the creation of drafts to the actual conclusion of the contract (notarial recording) and its implementation (execution). Unlike a lawyer, a notary represents the interests of both parties throughout all of these phases.
Given the notary’s legal status as independent and impartial advisor to the stakeholders, she or he ensures that the interests of all parties are dealt with fairly. Thanks to the statutory duties of disclosure, examination and instruction, as well as the mandatory formalities under the German Notarization Act (Beurkundungsgesetz), open questions and unresolved issues can be addressed already in the lead up to and in connection with the conclusion of the contract. The notarial deed is worded clearly, unambiguously, and without any open items. As a public deed, it serves as proof of the notarially recorded transaction, and as an executory title, it saves having to go to court.
In light of the highly specialized education and training notaries undergo, and given the legal requirement that certain types of contracts must be notarially recorded, a notary acquires sound specialized knowledge in many areas, which is crucial in order to properly advise clients. As a result, the likelihood of later disputes is rather low with notarially recorded contracts.