Surveyors and Notaries join forces

After an initial, fruitful roundtable organised in Stuttgart, during INTERGEO in September 2015, the Surveyors and Notaries are continuing to collaborate on how to improve cooperation between the two groups. They are planning workshops and other common activities in the coming years. This will be formalised in a common road map.

By Jean-Yves Pirlot and Bénédicte Fournier-Schmitt

The first round table of surveyors and notaries gathered in Stuttgart in Germany, on 15th September 2015. Chaired by Professor Rudolf Staiger, FIG Vice President and Professor Limmer, it was aimed at improving mutual understanding between the two professions. Both are equally important for the exact and secure registration of immovable property rights and the meeting highlighted the similarity between the two professions, established how they can complement each other and determined areas of strength.

During the first meeting it became apparent that an international cooperation between notaries and surveyors is essential. The ideal secure system is based on 3 objectives: the precise identification of immovable goods, the establishment of a property title and the registration at the State level of rights, people and goods. The first objective is the responsibility of surveyors. They have to identify the immovable goods and to document  them in the land register. The second objective is the delivery of the title, which will be done by the notaries in countries with civil law. The notaries will check several points (absence of mortgage, that the land is suitable for building, etc.). The third objective is to secure land tenure and this depends on the land register which can be interpreted differently depending on the country (Grundbuch, land registry). In every case it will determine to whom the goods belong.

When working on land reforms in developing regions such as in Africa, Vietnam or Haiti, the process could be weakened if it relies on a simple system without the intervention of a professional. However, if professionals can check that the boundaries are correct, that sellers have the legal capacity and that the goods are well registered, then a coherent reform can be implemented. The reason why many reforms initiated in developing countries have been unsuccessful over the last 30 years is due to the fact that most of them fail to unite all the land professionals, especially the surveyors and notaries. It is important to unite these skills and knowledge.

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The World Bank currently measures the efficiency of transactions based on the complexity of the title process and the monetary cost needed to establish ownership titles. A legal security index will be included for the first time at the World Bank level in 2016. This index is essential for secure land tenure. In France, Germany and Austria, for example, the transactions take a considerable amount of time, but the process is very secure and there is no litigation, which demonstrates a high level of land security.

It was agreed upon in Stuttgart that additional events will unite CLGE and UINL with the aim of drawing a roadmap to demonstrate their collaboration and compatibility. We will report back how this endeavour is progressing in future issues of our newsletter. There’s an urgent need to cover pressing topics such as continued professional development (CPD), common EU law, regulated professions and the high level of security required when providing services.

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