Notaries are independent officials of a public office.
They are designated by the regional Minister of Justice for a particular administrative district and are subject to supervision by the presidents of the regional and High Courts, and the Minister of Justice.
Principally responsible for certification and notarial documentation, notaries advise as impartial third parties, inform the parties of their rights and help to draft contracts. In the interest of both parties, notaries have to draw attention to the consequences, risks and dangers of a regulation and suggest alternatives. Especially in the areas of real estate management and corporate law (e.g. foundation, mergers), contracts require a notarisation, i.e. the active participation of the notary.
Notaries are subject to the Bundesnotarordnung (BNotO; Federal Notarial Code of Germany); they are impartial advisors for the parties (§ 14 BNotO) and receive a statutorily determined fee. In principle, notaries must be full-time judges, qualified to hold the office of judge and administer their office on a full-time basis.