Who is competent for what?

In the system of preventive justice, a state authority intervenes in certain life circumstances that are legally defined. Which state authority is competent depends on the respective Member state’s distribution of competences in each individual case. The following tendencies can be identified in the allocation of competences:

  • If the state authority has to make a substantial decision (e.g. come to a decision in an adoption procedure, appoint a custodian, grant an authorisation), the courts are competent, as a rule.
  • However, if the matter is rather one of wording and structuring legal acts in direct contact with the persons involved, this task is allocated to the the civil law notaries whose organisation is decentral and therefore particularly close to the citizens. They ensure that the authentication procedure is carried out in accordance with the regulations, create enforceable titles and decide whether an authentic instrument can be created with legal effect.
  • Furthermore, there are mixed forms in which civil law notaries and courts cooperate. For example, frequently decisions of the court (e.g. about an entry in a public register) are made on the basis of an authentic instrument established by a notary.
  • The chambers of civil law notaries of the Member states have been increasingly entrusted to keep an electronic public register (e.g. registers related to family law, living or last wills).

So for the field of preventive justice, the Member states can resort to several representatives of the state. This results in citizen-friendly solutions that focus on the factual life circumstance which needs to be settled.