Posted on Sat 22nd October 2016 10.19AM Notarial
Spain is one of those countries which has very particular requirements for its documents.
Many people buying and selling in Spain prefer not to go in person and therefore have to execute a Power of Attorney. Just recently, the Spanish Land Registrar rejected a document because the English lawyer has not completed it properly by stating certain things, including that the person signing had in his view legal capacity and free will.
The Notaries Society is now trying to remedy the false impression given by this particular document, which is that documents completed by an English notary are somehow less effective than documents completed in Spain.
The incident goes to show that whilst in England we are quite relaxed about the form of a document, in Spain they are much more precise. They expect that the notary does much more than simply witness a signature. The notary's signature and seal are a representation to anyone interested in the document that the person signing it has legal capacity, i.e. that they are not a child or suffering from a mental disability likely to affect their judgment, and that in signing it the document represents their will.
This is what is referred to not just in Spain but in many other European and civil law countries as being preventative law. This means that by paying proper attention to the legal formalities there is much less chance that someone will challenge the document in the future.
To avoid rejection of a document it is therefore absolutely essential that a notary as opposed to some other form of lawyer is instructed. Notaries, because of their wide experience with foreign documents, are best placed to know what is required for each document to ensure that it is accepted in the receiving country.