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Monday, 12 June 2017

Notaries Charge Drastically Higher Fees than Prescribed

Over the past few days, Praxis recorded two cases in which the notaries requested from citizens to pay drastically higher fees for the verification of signature than those prescribed by the notarial tariff. Thus, the Praxis beneficiaries were asked to pay about 4,000 dinars in Kragujevac and about 5,000 dinars in Belgrade, although according to the Public Notary Tariff, this service should be charged 360 dinars.

In both cases, the affected persons did not possess ID cards and were not registered in citizenship registry books. Therefore, in order to certify the power of attorney, their identity was determined on the basis of the statements of two witnesses, and for this reason the notaries wanted to charge a much higher fee for the verification of signature, although the Public Notary Tariff does not allow the increase of fee in such cases.

Due to the improper conduct of the notary, Praxis assisted the damaged party to lodge a complaint with the Chamber of Public Notaries. Praxis expects the Chamber to respond properly and thus prevent the occurrence of similar cases in the future. It is extremely important to ensure that the prescribed tariff is strictly applied, because the people who do not possess personal identification documents and whose identity must be established with the help of witnesses are almost exclusively legally invisible Roma. They are undoubtedly among the poorest citizens, and now they are required to pay more than a tenfold amount of the fee prescribed for verification. In addition, the powers of attorney are certified with the aim of initiating procedures for registration into civil registry books, which should enable them to finally become full and equal citizens. The described unlawful practice of certain notaries prevents the legally ignorant and poverty-stricken Roma in doing so.

It should be mentioned that as of 1 March 2017 the verification of signatures, transcripts and manuscripts can be performed only by notaries. At that time, the President of the Chamber of Public Notaries said that the notarial verification would be cheaper than it was in the municipalities. However, this does not apply to legally invisible Roma who previously were completely exempted from the payment of republic fees for the verification of documents used for registering into civil registry books. Now, however, not only are they not exempted from the payment of fees, but they are placed in a much more difficult position than other citizens with the unlawful conduct of certain notaries. In fact, the poorest citizens are required to pay the most. Therefore, the urgent response of the Chamber of Public Notaries is necessary in order to put an end to and prevent this unacceptable practice of certain notaries.

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