DECREE No.31-CP OF MAY 18, 1996, OF THE GOVERNMENT ON THE ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION OF THE STATE NOTARIZATION
Pursuant to the Law on Organization of the Government of September 30, 1992;
With a view to strengthening the administrative-judicial work and the management of society by law;
At the proposal of the Minister of Justice,
Article 1.- Notarization is the certification of the authenticity of the contracts and documents in accordance with the provisions of law with a view to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the citizens and State agencies, economic and social organizations (hereafter referred to as organizations), and contributing to the prevention of violation of law and the strengthening of the socialist law enforcement.
The contracts and documents which have been certified by the State Notary Public or the authorized People�s Committee shall be legally valid unless declared void by the People�s Court.
Article 2.- In providing the notarization, the notary public has to comply with the principles, work order and procedures specified in this Decree, the other provisions of law and International Conventions which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam has acceded to or signed.
Article 3.- The language and script to be employed in the notarized documents shall be the Vietnamese language and script.
Foreigners who want their documents to be notarized and who are not fluent in Vietnamese must solicit assistance from translators.
Article 4.- The notaries public and other clerks of the State Notarization Office shall, in the discharge of their duties, be just and lawful, responsible for maintaining secrets concerning the persons who request notarization, the content of the notarized documents and the knowledge of the business-related activities of the notarization requesters, except for cases otherwise provided by law.
Article 5.- The citizens and organizations may request notarization at any State Notarization Office, except for cases the notarization of which shall by provisions of law be administered by a designated State Notarization Office.
Notarization shall be done at a State Notarization Office unless the requester cannot go there for a plausible reason or otherwise prescribed by law.
Article 6.- The notarization requester must be a person with capacity required by law, and must produce all the legal papers and documents of action for notarization.
Article 7.- The content of the notarization must be presented clearly and in accordance with the unified form set by the Ministry of Justice.
The notarized documents must bear the signature of the notary public, be sealed and be logged in the Notarization Logbook.
Article 8.- The notarization requester must pay a notarization fee for the notarization.
The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice shall set the fee for each type of notarization and lay down the regime for management and use of the notarization fees.
STATE MANAGEMENT OF NOTARIZATION
Article 9.- The Government shall exert unified State management over the notarization work throughout the country.
The Ministry of Justice shall exercise State management over notarization work and has the following tasks:
1. To submit to the Government for the issue or, within its jurisdiction, to issue itself the documents providing guidance on the organization and operation of the notarization work;
2. To guide and direct the notarization work in terms of organization and operation;
3. To appoint the notaries public at the proposal of the Director of the provincial of Justice Service, and to issue the notary card;
4. To train and foster the notaries public on professional matters;
5. To issue the model documents of notarization and notarization logbooks. To set regulations on the printing and circulating of these model documents;
6. To control and inspect the organization and operation of the notaries public;
7. To carry out cooperation in notarization.
Article 10.- The Presidents of the People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government have the following powers and tasks:
1. To make decision on establishing the State Notarization Office under the Provincial of Justice Service; to appoint and dismiss the heads of these offices. In the cities directly under the Central Government and large provinces where the requests for public notarization are numerous, a number of State Notarization Offices under the Provincial Justice Service may be established.
2. To determine the payrolls of the Notarization Offices within their localities and ensure the material basis and operational instruments for the work of the State Notarization Offices.
Article 11.- The Director of the Provincial Justice Service has the following powers and tasks:
1. To submit to the President of the People�s Committee of the province or city directly under the Central Government the proposal for establishing the State Notarization Office under the Provincial Justice Service and to recommend the appointment and dismissal of the Head of such Office;
2. To appoint and dismiss the Deputy Heads of the State Notarization Office;
3. To manage and control the organization and operation of the State Notarization Office;
4. To ensure the regimes and policies toward the notaries public and other staff members of the Notarization Office;
5. To settle complaints lodged by the organizations and individuals concerning the execution of the professional duties of the notaries public;
6. Half-yearly and yearly to report on the notarization work to the Ministry of Justice and the provincial People�s Committee.
ORGANIZATION OF THE STATE NOTARIZATION SYSTEM
Article 12.- The State Notarization Office under the Provincial Justice Service has the status of a legal person and a seal and bank account as provided for by the Government.
Article 13.- The State Notarization Office has a Head, Deputy Heads, notaries public and other staff members.
The Head and Deputy Heads of the State Notarization Office are selected and appointed from among the notaries public.
Article 14.- The Head of the State Notarization Office is responsible for conducting its operation and has the following powers and tasks:
1. To draw up the work plan of the Notarization Office and direct its implementation;
2. To conduct the daily operation of the Notarization Office;
3. Half-yearly and yearly report on the organization and operation of the Notarization Office to the Director of the Provincial Justice Service.
In conducting the notarization work, the Head and Deputy Heads of the State Notarization Office shall sign the notarized documents in their capacity as a notary public.
Article 15.- The People�s Committees of the districts, towns and provincial cities (hereafter referred to as the district level) shall notarize the affairs specified in Item 1, Article 19, of this Decree and other affairs provided for by law.
Article 16.- The diplomatic representative or consular office of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam shall perform notarization at the request of Vietnamese citizens and organizations overseas as provided for in the Ordinance on Consular Work.
THE NOTARY PUBLIC
Article 17.- A Vietnamese citizen who is residing in Vietnam and meets the following criteria may be considered for selection and appointment as a notary public:
1. Having good political and moral quality, transparency, honesty, diligence and the sense of objectivity;
2. Having graduated from the Law University;
3. Having 5 years or more of experience in legal work;
4. Having passed a refresher training course on notarization work.
The notary public shall work full time and shall not assume any other work at a State agency or economic organization, and shall not be party to any free enterprise.
Article 18.- The State Notarization Office shall carry out the following tasks:
1. To certify economic contracts, contracts for auction of fixed assets, contracts for keeping of properties, civil contracts with foreign elements; to certify the minutes of the Council for pricing of properties used as initial investments of private entrepreneurs; certify the presentation of protests on maritime transport; certify the translations of the affidavits, verdicts and civil rulings of Foreign Courts, and of the awards of Foreign Arbitrators concerning Vietnamese citizens or organizations for consideration by Vietnamese Courts for recognition and execution in Vietnam; certify the translations of the documents in foreign languages concerning the marriage of a foreigner to a Vietnamese citizen, the recognition of a Vietnamese as a child out of wedlock, the adoption of a Vietnamese child and the provision of sponsorship to a Vietnamese; and certify the translations of wills in foreign languages into Vietnamese.
2. To certify the undertakings which by provision of law must be notarized.
3. To certify affairs at the request of the concerned parties, as required by law that the notary public shall certify them or the People�s Committee of the authorized level shall verify them.
Article 19.- The People�s Committees of the districts and provincial towns shall verify the affairs which must by law be verified and verify the authenticity of copies made on original documents, except for the affairs provided for in Items 1 and 2, Article 18, of this Decree.
The People�s Committees of the communes, wards and townships shall verify the authenticity of the refusals of inherited properties, of the wills and other affairs as required by law.
Article 20.- The agencies and organizations which are authorized to issue the originals of the documents such as birth certificates, marriage registration certificates, diplomas, certificates and other papers are also authorized to issue duplicates of the originals to the concerned persons.
Article 21.- In performing the notarization, the notary public has the tasks:
1. To inform the concerned parties of the procedure and proceedings of the notarization as required by law;
2. To receive and check the documents and papers presented by the concerned persons;
3. To directly perform the notarization, sign the notarized documents and take responsibility before law for the notarization administered by him/her.
4. To explain to the notarization requester the legitimate rights, obligations and interests, and the legal significance of the notarization work.
Article 22.- In performing the notarization, the notary public has the rights:
1. To request the concerned persons to produce all the necessary documents and papers required by the notarization;
2. To request the professional agency to provide expertise or consultancy when the need arises;
3. To refuse notarization in the cases specified in Article 23 of this Decree.
Article 23.- The notary public shall not give any certification in one of the following cases:
1. The affair does not come within the sphere of activity of the notary public;
2. The request for notarization is against the law;
3. The affairs is related to the notary public him/herself or to members of his/her family: spouse; siblings (including siblings of the spouse and adopted siblings), parents (including parents of the spouse and adopted parents), paternal and maternal grand-parents, children (including adopted and in-law children); and grand-children (children of their own sons, daughters and adopted children).
Article 24.- The Executive Vice President of the District People�s Committee or the member of the District People�s Committee who is also the Director of the Office of the District People�s Committee shall give the certification in line with the provisions of Item 1, Article 19 of this Decree, and seal it with the seal of the District People�s Committee. The Bureau of Justice at the district level shall assist the Vice President and Director of the Office of the District People�s Committee in performing this task.
The Executive Vice President of the District People�s Committee or the member of the District People�s Committee who is also the Director of the Office of the District People�s Committee shall give certification in accordance with the provisions of Articles 21, 22 and 23 of this Decree.
Article 25.- The official who is assigned the task of giving certification at the overseas diplomatic representative or consular office of Vietnam must comply with the provisions of Articles 21, 22 and 23 of this Decree.
The documents which are certified by an overseas diplomatic representative or consular office of Vietnam shall have the same validity as those notarized and certified in Vietnam.
PROCEDURE AND PROCEEDINGS FOR NOTARIZATION
Article 26.- The notary public shall give certification to the agreements on the contents of the contracts for sales of dwelling houses, sales and purchase of auctioned properties, exchanging or donating properties, renting dwelling houses, leasing properties, keeping of properties and mandating.
The certifying of the contracts for changing property ownership must be conducted before changing the owner�s name in the registration record.
The contracts for changing real estate ownership must be certified at the State Notarization Office or the People�s Committee of the district where the real estate is located.
In requesting notarization of a contract which is related to a property the ownership of which by law must be registered, the concerned person must submit his/her identity card and the certificate of his/her ownership of that property.
Article 27.- The notary public shall certify documents which are used as mortgage, pledge and guaranty.
With regard to property the ownership of which is registered, the certification of the documents which are used as mortgage, pledge and guaranty shall be conducted at the State Notarization Office at the locality where the property is registered.
Article 28.- The notary public shall certify the will of the citizen at the request of that very person only, not through a representative.
The will maker shall declare the content of the will to the notary public. The notary public shall take note of the content of the will as declared by the will maker. The will maker shall sign or finger-print the will after verifying that the will has been recorded accurately and manifest correctly his/her will. The notary public shall put his/her signature to the will.
The will maker may request the notary public to come to his/her residence to witness the making of the will. The notary public shall take part in the writing of the will at the residence of the will maker only in the presence of at least two witnesses.
In case the will maker requests a change, supplement, replacement or removal of a part or the whole of the will which has been notarized, a re-notarization shall be needed.
Article 29.- The person who requests the notary public to certify the refusal of an inherited property shall have to hand in an application and the other required documents to the State Notarization Office.
Upon a written verification of the death of the property owner and the status of the inheritor in the inheritance order, the notary public shall certify the concerned person�s refusal to accept the inheritance in accordance with the provisions of the law on inheritance.
Article 30.- The will maker may request the State Notarization Office to keep his/her will. In taking possession of the will, the notary public has to record the act in two copies of the same content, one of which shall be handed to the will maker and the other kept in the archive of the State Notarization Office.
In case the will is to be kept at the State Notarization Office, the notary public shall be the announcer of the will. The announcement of the will shall be recorded in writing. Upon the opening of the inheritance, the notary public has to send duplicates of the will to all the persons concerned with its content. All the duplicates must be noratized by the notary public.
Article 31.- The notary public shall only certify the minutes of the Council for Pricing of the Property used as initial investment of a private entrepreneur when the private entrepreneur requests such a certification and produce papers to verify his/her ownership of the property.
The Pricing Council established by decision of the President of the People�s Committee of the province or city directly under the Central Government is composed of:
- A representative of the State management agency in charge of pricing of the province or city directly under the Central Government, who shall serve as Chairman of the Council.
- Experts in pricing the property to be priced, who shall serve as members.
- A representative of the agency which issues the business license to the private enterprise, who shall serve as a member.
The Notary Public shall not seat in the Pricing Council.
Article 32.- The translation of the affidavits and civil verdicts and rulings of the Foreign Court and the awards of the Foreign Arbitrators which are related to Vietnamese citizens or organizations for consideration by the Vietnamese Court for recognition and execution in Vietnam, the translations of the documents from foreign languages concerning the marriage of foreigners to Vietnamese citizens, the recognition of Vietnamese as children out of wedlock, the adoption of Vietnamese children, the tutoring of Vietnamese, the translations of wills and documents from foreign languages into Vietnamese or from Vietnamese into foreign languages, shall be handled by translators of university-level training in those foreign languages or by people with university-level training in law who are fluent in those foreign languages.
The requester of notarization who is fluent in the said foreign language may make the translation by himself/herself and requests the notary public to certify the translation.
The translators who are listed as permanent assistants to the Notarization Office shall be recognized by the Director of the Provincial Justice Service at the recommendation of the Head of the Notarization Office.
The translator has to sign the translation and take responsibility for its precision. The notary public shall certify the signature of the translator in the translation.
Article 33.- The notary public shall receive the maritime protest filed by the vessel captain concerning a happenstance during the vessel travel on the sea or its anchoring at the port.
Upon considering the maritime protest and hearing clarifications from the captain and maybe two more witnesses on the vessel (one in the vessel command and the other among the sailors), the notary public shall certify the reception of the maritime protest.
At the proposal of the captain, the notary public may request the professional agency to conduct the expertizing.
Article 34.- The People�s Committees of the district level and the communal, ward and township level shall, in certifying the documents as specified in the provisions of Article 19 of this Decree, comply with the procedures and proceedings provided for in Chapter V of this Decree and shall be allowed to take fees as provided for the certification made by the Notary Public.
The agencies and organizations authorized to issue duplicates of the documents are also allowed to take fees as provided for by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice.
Article 35.- Citizens and organizations have the right to lodge complaints against the Head of the Notarization Office about his/her refusal to administer the notarization or about the content of the notarization administered by the notary public, and against all other acts of notarization in violation of law.
The complaints and denunciations against notarization shall be examined and handled in accordance with the provisions of law on complaints and denunciations.
Article 36.- Any notary public who violates the law while conducting his/her duty in administering notarization shall, depending on the degree of seriousness of his/her violation, be subject to disciplinary measure or examined for penal liability; and if the violation incurs material losses, he/she shall have to pay compensation.
Article 37.- This Decree takes effect on the date of its signing and shall replace Decree No.45-HDBT of February 27, 1991, of the Council of Ministers on organization and operation of the State Notary Public.
Article 38.- The Minister of Justice is responsible for providing guidance for the implementation of this Decree.
Article 39.- The Ministers, the Heads of the ministerial-level Agencies, the Heads of the Agencies attached to the Government, and the Presidents of the People�s Committees of the provinces and cities directly under the Central Government are responsible for the implementation of this Decree.
On behalf of the Government
For the Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister
PHAN VAN KHAI
Phó Thủ tướng
Phan Văn Khải