Interruption on the activities of the Public Notary and Real Estate Registry Offices
Following what had already been contained in Recommendation No. 25, published on March 17, 2020 and also the most recent measures taken by the Brazil Federal, State and Municipal governments to contain COVID-19, the National Council of Justice (CNJ) edited, on March 22, 2020, Provision No. 91, allowing the suspension or reduction of face-to-face services, as well as the operation of Public Notary and Real Estate Registry Offices.
Notwithstanding the exclusive jurisdiction of the State Courts to regulate the operation of notary and registry offices throughout Brazil, CNJ Provision No. 91 establishes that notaries and real estate registry offices must comply with the determinations of municipal, state and national authorities of public health, issued in accordance with the law and that impose a reduction in public service or suspension of the operation of the service. In addition, CNJ Provision No. 91 establishes: (i) the possibility of replacing face-to-face service with remote service (except urgent requests); (ii) that, in the event of interruption of operations, the legal terms of the acts submitted to the notary or registry office will be automatically suspended; and (iii) that the suspension or reduction of face-to-face service must made known to the public and to the internal affairs of the local Court of Justice. Provision No. 91 is valid until April 30, 2020.
In addition, the São Paulo State Court of Justice, the competent body for regulating the operation of notaries, real estate registries and extrajudicial services in the State of São Paulo, edited Normative Rule CG 08/2020 took the following actions
(i) authorizes the immediate interruption of the operation of the public notaries and real estate registry offices;
(ii) establishes that the deadlines for the practice of the acts of notes and registration will not run during the period of interruption of working hours;
(iii) establishes that those responsible for the units in which the operation is suspended must provide assistance on duty, which may be in person, virtual, or by any other remote service;
(iv) establishes that any face-to-face duty will last no less than two hours and the long-distance call will last no less than four hours, with the person responsible for the extrajudicial service unit being able to adopt either of these service modalities, or both, at his or her discretion;
(v) establishes that the shifts (whether in person or virtual) of units that suspend the operation will cover certain essential services, such as: (a) issuance of certificates, (b) birth and death records, (c) qualifications and records of marriage when the urgency is justified, and (d) registration of collateral contracts on movable and real estate properties that are a condition for the release of financing granted by credit institutions.
The Normative Rule CG 08/2020 will be valid for thirty days counted from March 24, 2020.
It is important to point out that the decision to interrupt and/or reduce the services will depend on each public notary and real estate registry office. Thus, if notary or registry services are required for the progress of transactions (e.g.: drawing up / registering a public deed of purchase and sale, issuing certificates), we suggest that the competent public notary and real estate registry office is consulted on the form of service which will be offered in the coming weeks.
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