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Notarization Law of the People’s Republic of China

Updated: Aug 23,2014 6:16 PM     npc.gov.cn

Order of the President of the People’s Republic of China No. 39

The Notarization Law of the People’s Republic of China, adopted at the 17th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on August 28, 2005, is hereby promulgated and shall go into effect as of March 1, 2006.

Hu Jintao

President of the People’s Republic of China

August 28, 2005

Notarization Law of the People’s Republic of China

(Adopted at the 17th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Tenth National People’s Congress on August 28, 2005)

Contents

Chapter I General Provisions

Chapter II Notarial Institutions

Chapter III Notaries

Chapter IV Notarization Procedures

Chapter V The Effect of Notarization

Chapter VI Legal Liability

Chapter VII Supplementary Provisions

Chapter I General Provisions

Article 1 This Law is enacted for the purpose of regulating notarial activities, ensuring that the notarial institutions and notaries perform their duties in accordance with law, preventing disputes and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the natural persons, legal persons or other organizations.

Article 2 Notarization means the act performed by a notarial institution, upon the application of a natural person, legal person or other organization and following statutory procedures, to certify the authenticity and legality of a civil juristic act or a fact or document of legal significance.

Article 3 A notarial institution shall comply with law and shall adhere to the principles of objectiveness and impartiality when doing notarization.

Article 4 A China Notaries Association shall be set up for the country as a whole, and a local notaries association shall be set up for each province, autonomous region, and municipality directly under the Central Government. The China Notaries Association and the local notaries associations are public organizations with the status of legal person. The charter of the China Notaries Association shall be formulated by the congress of its members and shall be submitted to the judicial administration department under the State Council for the record.

The notaries associations are self-disciplined organizations of the notarial sector. They shall carry out their activities in accordance with their charter and shall supervise the practices of the notarial institutions and the notaries.

Article 5 The judicial administration departments shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Law, exercise supervision over and provide guidance to the notarial institutions, notaries and notaries associations.

Chapter II Notarial Institutions

Article 6 A notarial institution is a lawfully established, non-profit certifying institution that independently performs the notarial functions and bears civil liabilities in accordance with law.

Article 7 A notarial institution may, in compliance with the principle of overall planning and rational distribution, be established in a county, a city not divided into districts, a city divided into districts, a municipality directly under the Central Government or a district directly under a city. One or more notarial institutions, may be established in a city divided into districts, or a municipality directly under the Central Government. Notarial institutions are not to be established at different levels in correspondence with the administrative hierarchy.

Article 8 To establish a notarial institution, the following conditions shall be met: (1) having its own name; (2) having a fixed office; (3) having two or more notaries; and (4) having the funds necessary for carrying out notarial work.

Article 9 To establish a notarial institution, an application shall be submitted by the local judicial administration department to the judicial administration department of the people’s government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government for approval, and, after approval is granted in compliance with the prescribed procedure, a practicing certificate of notarial institution shall be issued.

Article 10 The person in charge of a notarial institution shall be elected from among the notaries who have practiced in this field for three or more years, and he shall be subject to examination and approval by the local judicial administration department and be reported to the judicial administration department of the people’s government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government for the record.

Article 11 Depending on the request of a natural person, legal person or other organization, the notarial institution shall notarize for the following matters: (1) a contract; (2) succession; (3) the power of attorney, statement, gift, and will; (4) division of property; (5) bid invitation, tendering, and auction; (6) marital status, kindred relationship, and adoption relationship; (7) birth, existence, death, identity, experiences, educational background, degree, job title, professional title, and having or not having illegal or criminal record; (8) articles of association of a company; (9) preservation of evidence; (10) signature, seal and date as indicated in a document, and duplicate or photocopy of a document conforming with the original document; and (11) other matters for which a natural person, legal person or other organization voluntarily requests for notarization.

For a matter that needs to be notarized as prescribed by laws or administrative regulations, the natural person, legal person or any other organization concerned shall request a notarial institution for notarization.

Article 12 Depending on the request of a natural person, legal person or other organization, the notarial institution may do the following: (1) registration of matters required of a notarial institution by laws or administrative regulations; (2) preservation of evidence; (3) preservation of will, heritage or other property, articles and documents related to the matters for notarization; (4) making, for another person, legal documents related to matters for notarization; and (5) providing legal consultancy services related to notarization.

Article 13 A notarial institution shall not do any of the following: (1) issuing a notarial certificate for an untrue or illegal matter; (2) destroying or fraudulently altering a notarial document or file; (3) vying for notarial business by defaming another notarial institution or notary, or by paying kickbacks or commissions, or by other illegitimate means; (4) divulging State secrets, commercial secrets or personal privacy it has access to in its practices; (5 ) charging notarization fees in violation of the prescribed rates; or (6) committing other acts as prohibited by laws, regulations, or the judicial administration department under the State Council.

Article 14 A notarial institution shall institute systems for the management of business, financial affairs and assets, supervise the professional practices of its notaries and institute a system of liability for fault.

Article 15 Notarial institutions shall obtain liability insurance for notarial practices.

Chapter III Notaries

Article 16 A notary is a notarial practitioner who meets the requirements as prescribed by this Law and is working in a notarial institution.

Article 17 The number of notaries shall be determined according to the need of the notarial business. The judicial administration department of the people’s government of a province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government shall, in light of the number of the notarial institutions established and the need of the notarial business, decide on a plan for the manning of notaries and shall submit it to the judicial administration department under the State Council for the record.

Article 18 To serve as a notary, one shall meet the following requirements: (1) having the nationality of the People’s Republic of China; (2) being between 25 and 65 years old; (3) being fair-mainded and upright, observing laws and rules of discipline, and being of good moral character; (4) having passed the national judicial examination; and (5) having served as an intern in a notarial institution for two or more years, or having three or more years of experiences in another legal profession and having served as an intern in a notarial institution for one year or more, and being professionally qualified.

Article 19 A person who has been engaged in teaching or research of law or has a senior professional title, or a person who has been a university graduate or had a higher educational background and has served as a public servant or lawyer for 10 full years in adjudication, procuratorial work, legislative work or legal service, if he has left his post and has been professionally qualified, may serve as a notary.

Article 20 A person shall not serve as a notary, if: (1) He has no or has limited capacity for civil conduct; (2) He has been subjected to criminal punishment due to an intentional crime or a crime committed because of negligence of duty; (3) He has been dismissed from public employment; or (4) His practicing certificate has been revoked.

Article 21 To serve as a notary, a person who meets the requirements for a notary shall submit an application and be recommended by a notarial institution. The local judicial administration department shall submit the matter to the judicial administration department of the people’s government of a province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government for examination and approval, which, after granting approval, shall request the judicial administration department under the State Council for appointment, before issuing to the person a notary’s practicing certificate.

Article 22 A notary shall observe rules of discipline and law, strictly abide by professional ethics, perform his notarial duties according to law, and keep confidential the secrets he has access to in his practices.

A notary shall be entitled to receive remuneration, enjoy insurance and welfare benefits. He shall have the right to offer resignation from his job, to file a complaint or bring a charge. He shall be free from being dismissed from his post or punished, unless there is a statutory reason or unless statutory procedures have been followed.

Article 23 No notary may: (1) serve as a notary in two or more notarial institutions at the same time; (2) doing other paid job(s); (3) doing notarization for himself or his close relative, or where he or his close relative has an interest in; (4) issuing a notarial certificate without authorization; (5) issuing a notarial certificate for an untrue or unlawful matter; (6) taking illegal possession of or misappropriating notarization fees, or taking illegal possession of or stealing articles for the exclusive use of notarization; (7) destroying or fraudulently altering a notarial document or file; (8) divulging State secrets, commercial secrets or personal privacy he has access to in his practices; or (9) committing other acts as prohibited by laws or regulations, or the regulations of the judicial administration department under the State Council.

Article 24 The local judicial administration department shall report him to the judicial administration department of the people’s government of a province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government, which shall request the judicial administration department under the State Council to dismiss him from the job, if a notary: (1) has forfeited the nationality of the People’s Republic of China; (2) has attained to the age of 65 or becomes unable to carry on his duties for health reasons; (3) has resigned from the job of a notary of his own free will; or (4) his notary’s practicing certificate has been revoked.

Chapter IV Notarization Procedures

Article 25 Where a natural person, legal person or other organization requests for notarization, he/it may file an application to the notarial institution of the place where his/its domicile or habitual residence is located, or where the relevant act is committed, or where the relevant event occurs.

Where a request for notarization involves real property, the applicant shall submit the request to the notarial institution of the place where the real property is located. The provisions of the preceding paragraph shall be applicable to requests for notarization of the power of attorney, statement, gift and will involved with the real property.

Article 26 A natural person, legal person or other organization may entrust another person with the request for notarization, with the exception of the notarization of a will, survival, and adoption relationship, which shall be requested by the said person or organization himself or itself.

Article 27 The party who requests notarization shall provide the notarial institution with truthful information about the matter for which he requests notarization, and shall provide genuine, lawful and sufficient supporting materials. Where the supporting materials are insufficient, the notarial institution may ask him to supplement the materials.

After the notarial institution accepts a request for notarization, it shall inform the party concerned of the legal significance and the possible legal consequences of the matter for which he requests notarization, and shall keep a record of what it has informed of the party concerned and place it on file.

Article 28 When doing notarization, a notarial institution shall, according to the different rules governing different matters for notarization, examine the following items, respectively: (1) the identity of the party concerned, his qualifications for requesting the notarization and the necessary rights he enjoys; (2) whether the documents provided are complete in content, whether the meaning is clear and whether the signature and seal are complete; (3) whether the supporting materials are authentic, lawful and sufficient; and (4) whether the matters under request for notarization are genuine and lawful.

Article 29 Where a notarial institution, in accordance with the rules governing notarization, deems it necessary to verify the matter under request for notarization and the supporting materials provided by the party concerned, or where it has doubts about the matter or materials, it should verify the matter or materials, or where it entrusts a notarial institution located in another place to do the verifying on its behalf, the unit or individual concerned shall offer assistance according to law.

Article 30 If the notarial institution, upon examination, considers that the supporting materials provided for request for notarization are truthful, lawful and sufficient, and that the matter under request for notarization is genuine and lawful, it shall issue a notarial certificate to the party concerned within 15 working days from the date it accepts the request for notarization. However, under conditions of force majeure and when supporting materials need to be supplemented or some relevant information needs to be verified, the time thus needed shall not be included in the aforesaid time limit.

Article 31 A notarial institution shall not do the notarization, if: (1) The person who has no or has limited capacity for civil conduct does not have a guardian to request for notarization on his behalf; (2) The party concerned has no interest in the matter under request for notarization; (3) The matter under request for notarization is a matter involving professional technical authentication or assessment; (4) There are disputes between the parties concerned over the matter under request for notarization; (5) The party concerned makes up a story, conceals the facts or provides false supporting materials; (6) The supporting materials provided by the party concerned are insufficient or the party concerned refuses to supplement such materials; (7) The matter under request for notarization is not genuine or is unlawful; (8) The matter under request for notarization goes against public ethics; or (9) The party concerned refuses to pay the notarization fees according to relevant regulations.

Article 32 A notarial certificate shall be made according to the format as prescribed by the judicial administration department under the State Council and shall carry the signature, or plus the seal of the notary’s signature, as well as the seal of the notarial institution. A notarial certificate becomes valid as of the date of its issuance.

A notarial certificate shall be made in the written language commonly used nationwide. In a national autonomous area, it may be made in the language commonly used by the local ethnic people.

Article 33 Where a notarial certificate is to be used outside China and the country where the certificate is to be used requires confirmation in advance, the certificate shall be subject to confirmation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China or the institution it authorizes to confirm the certificate and by the embassy (consular office) of the country concerned in China.

Article 34 The party concerned shall pay notarization fees in accordance with relevant regulations.

If the party concerned satisfies the conditions for obtaining legal aid, the notarial office shall, according to relevant regulations, reduce the notarial charges or exempt the party from such charges.

Article 35 A notarial institution shall classify the natarial documents into different categories and keep them on file. At the expiration of the period of time for preservation of notarial files of such important matters as ones which should be notarized according to laws or administrative regulations, the notarial institution shall, in accordance with relevant regulations, transfer such notarial files to local archives for preservation.

Chapter V The Effect of Notarization

Article 36 A notarized civil legal act, fact and document of legal significance shall be taken as the basis for establishing a fact, except where there is contrary evidence which is strong enough to reverse the notarization.

Article 37 With regard to a notarized document of creditor’s right the content of which is on payment and which clearly states the commitment of the debtor to accept compulsory execution, if the debtor fails to fulfill or to properly fulfill his commitment, the creditor may, in accordance with law, submit an application for execution to the people’s court that has jurisdiction over the matter.

Where there’s definitely an error in the document of creditor’s right as mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the people’s court shall decide not to execute it and shall serve its written decision upon both parties concerned and the notarial institution.

Article 38 Where laws or administrative regulations provide that a certain matter has no legal effect unless it is notarized, such provisions shall be applied.

Article 39 Where the party concerned or the interested party of a notarized matter considers that there is an error in the notarial certificate, he may request the notarial institution that produced the notarial certificate to make a review. If what is notarized in the notarial certificate is illegal or does not conform to facts, the notarial institution shall revoke the notarial certificate and announce it to the public, and the notarial certificate shall be invalidated from the very beginning. If there is any other error in the notarial certificate, the notarial institution shall correct it.

Article 40 Where a dispute arises between the party concerned and the interested party of the notarized matter over what is notarized in the notarial certificate, they may lodge a civil lawsuit in respect of the dispute in a people’s court.

Chapter VI Legal Liability

Article 41 Where a notarial institution or one of its notaries commits one of the following acts, the judicial administration department of a province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government, or of a city divided into districts, shall give it/him a warning. If the circumstances are serious, it shall impose on the notarial institution a fine of not less than RMB10, 000 yuan but not more than 50, 000 yuan, and on the notary a fine of not less than 1, 000 yuan but not more than 5, 000 yuan, and may, in addition, suspend its/his practices for not more than three months but not less than six months by way of punishment; the unlawful gains, if any, shall shall be confiscated: (1) vying for notarial business by defaming other notarial institutions or notaries, or by paying kickbacks or commissions, or by other illegitimate means; (2) charging notarization fees in violation of the prescribed rates; (3) serving as a notary in two or more notarial institutions at the same time; (4) doing other paid job(s); (5) doing notarization for himself or his close relative or where he himself or his close relative has an interest in; or (6) other acts that are to be subjected to punishment according to laws or administrative regulations.

Article 42 Where a notarial institution or its notary commits one of the following acts, the judicial administration department of the people’s government of the province, autonomous region, municipality directly under the Central Government, or of a city divided into districts shall give the notarial institution a warning and shall impose on it a fine of not less than 20, 000 yuan but not more than 100, 000 yuan and may, in addition and by way of punishment, make it suspend business for rectification for not less than one month but not more than three months. It shall give the notary a warning and impose on him a fine of not less than 2, 000 yuan but not more than 10, 000 yuan and may, in addition and by way of punishment, make him suspend his practices for not less than three months but not more than twelve months. His unlawful gains, if any, shall be confiscated; if the circumstances are serious, the judicial administration department of the people’s government of a province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government shall revoke his notary’s practicing certificate; and if a crime is constituted, he shall be investigated for criminal responsibility: (1) issuing a notarial certificate without authorization; (2) issuing a notarial certificate for a matter that is not genuine or is unlawful; (3) taking illegal possession of or misappropriating notarization fees, or taking illegal possession of or stealing articles for the exclusive use of notarization; (4) destroying or fraudulently altering a notarial document or notarial file; (5) divulging State secrets, commercial secrets or personal privacy it/he has access to in its/his practices; or (6) other acts that are to be subject to punishment according to laws or administrative regulations. Where a notary is subjected to criminal punishment due to a crime committed intentionally or because of negligence of duty, his notary’s practicing certificate shall be revoked.

Article 43 Where a notarial institution or notary causes losses to the party concerned or to an interested party of the matter for natorization due to its/his fault, the said institution shall bear the corresponding liability for compensation. After making the compensation, it may claim repayment from the notary who intentionally commits the fault or commits a serious fault.

Where a dispute arises over the compensation between the party concerned or the interested party of the matter for notarization on the one hand, and the notarial institution on the other, the former may initiate a civil lawsuit in a people’s court.

Article 44 Where the party concerned or another individual or organization commits one of the following acts and thus causes losses to another person, he/it shall bear civil liability in accordance with law; if the act infringes the administration for pubic security, he/it shall be given an administrative penalty for public security; and if a crime is constituted, he/it shall be investigated for criminal responsibility according to law: (1) obtaining a notarial certificate by providing false supporting materials; (2) using a false notarial certificate to engage in fraudulent activities; or (3) forging or altering notarial certificates or the seals of notarial institutions, or buying or selling such forged or altered certificates or seals.

Chapter VII Supplementary Provisions

Article 45 The embassies (consular offices) of the People’s Republic of China stationed abroad may provide notarization pursuant to the provisions of this Law or the international treaties which the People’s Republic of China has concluded or has acceded to.

Article 46 The rates for notarization fees shall be fixed by the finance department and the department in charge of pricing under the State Council in conjunction with the judicial administration department under the State Council.

Article 47 This Law shall go into effect as of March 1, 2006.

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