Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz


Law on Registries and Notaries’ Offices

Decree No. 1,422 of November 17, 2014 was published in Official Gazette No. 6,156 Extraordinary of November 19, 2014. Through said Decree, the President of the Republic issued the Decree with the Status, Value, and Force of Law on Registries and Notaries Public’s Offices (the “Decree-Law”). The purpose of the Decree-Law is to regulate the organization, functioning, administration and competence of the Principal Registries, Public Registries, Mercantile Registries, and Notaries Public’s Offices.


Following are the most relevant changes made in this Decree-Law in relation to the Law of Public Registry and Notaries Public’s Offices of May 4, 2006, published in Official Gazette No. 5.833 Extraordinary of December 22, 2006 (the “Law of Public Registry and Notaries Public’s Offices”) that regulated this matter:


a) The Autonomous Service of Registries and Notaries (Servicio Autónomo de Registros y Notarías - “SAREN”) is a deconcentrated service with budgetary, administrative, financial, and managerial autonomy incorporated into the organic structure indicated by the President of the Republic.  The Decree-Law establishes the SAREN’s income, which must be oriented to the service self-financing and will be used for both operating expenses and investment expenses, without this involving the possibility of making extrabudgetary expenses.


b) Should the registrar reject or deny the registration of a document or act, the interested party may also bring a Hierarchical Appeal or a Contentious Administrative Appeal. The latter must be brought within a period of six (6) months after the notification of the reasoned administrative act that contains the registration denial. If the interested party decides to complete the administrative procedure, the Contentious Administrative Appeal must be filed within a period of six (6) months after the notification of the act that rejects such Hierarchical Appeal or after the date on which the silencio administrativo (administrative authority’s failure to reply) operates.


c) The SAREN will be in charge of instructing the reasonability criteria relating to the corporate purpose that will be applied for rejecting the registration of companies with insufficient corporate capital.


d) With respect to the acts capable of being registered with the Principal Registry, legal deprivation of civil rights and civil incapacitation were removed.


e) The Decree-Law eliminates the articles related to (i) the sending by municipal civil registries to the Principal Registry of the updated information about the entries related to births, marriages, deaths, decrees of divorce, nullity of marriage, recognitions of filiation, emancipations, adoptions, acts relating to the acquisition, change, or revocation of nationality, decisions declaring absence or presumption of death, certificates of no presentation, and (ii) the responsibility of mayor’s offices, prosecutors, courts, and councils for protection of children and adolescents and other entities indicated by the law, within their jurisdiction, to inform the Principal Registry of the births, marriages, deaths, and all events affecting the marital status of persons.


f) Notaries Public are no longer competent, in the ambit of their circumscription, to certify the authenticity of (i) authorizations of separate administration of marital community and (ii) authorizations of administration of property of children, adolescents, or persons under disability.


g) Notaries Public were formerly competent to certify the authenticity of the opening of owners’ meetings’ books, books of condominium board minutes and companies’ books and board of directors’ books.  Now, they are competent to certify the authenticity of the opening and stamping of books of civil associations, books of board of directors, books of minutes of meetings, and of condominium boards.


h) Some of the fees to be paid at SAREN, Principal and Public Registry offices, and Notaries’ Offices for the provision of the services established in the Decree-Law were increased.


i) One percent (1%) of the corporate capital will be charged for registration and increase of the corporate capital of corporations.


j) “Title VI: Disciplinary Regime” was substituted by “Title VI: Prevention, Control, and Inspection of Capital Legalization and Terrorism Financing Operations”. The purpose of the new Title is to establish continuous and permanent rules and procedures to be complied with by the officers assigned to the registries and notaries’ offices as responsible persons from SAREN, in order to prevent the registration or authentication of acts or legal transactions intended to finance terrorist acts or to legalize capitals derived from unlawful activities, defined in the Organic Law against Organized Crime and Terrorism Financing. In this connection, the SAREN will have an updated data of the users in order to convincingly determine their identification and the economic activities in which they are engaged.  If failure to comply with the prevention, control, and inspection rules and policies is detected, the penalties prescribed in the Organic Law against Organized Crime and Terrorism Financing and other laws governing public officers and labor matters will be applied.


The Temporary Provisions of the Decree-Law establish the following: (i) a 180-calendar-day period after the entry into force of the Decree-Law is allowed in order for the National Executive to make the regulations to the same; (ii) after its entry into force, the person in charge of the entity to which the SAREN is hierarchically assigned will determine through a resolution the manner in which the Registries and Notaries Public will be progressively submitted to the process of organization, automation, modernization, functioning, administration, and competence; (iii) up to the time when the regulations are issued, the SAREN will establish the procedures for receipt, legal review, recording or noting, and filing of documents, digitalization of images, and receipt and verification of payment of taxes, and (iv) the SAREN will make a code of ethics in a period of 180 calendar days as from its entry into force.


The Decree-Law repealed the Law of Public Registry and Notaries Public’s Offices. Given that the Law of Public Registry and Notaries Public’s Offices repealed articles 3 and 62 of the Regulations on Notaries Public, published in Official Gazette No. 36,588 of November 24, 1998, the Decree-Law establishes that the rest of the articles of the Regulations on Notaries Public remain in effect and will be applied as long as they do not contravene the provisions of the Decree-Law.


The Decree-Law became effective on November 19, 2014, except for the provisions referred to the taxes applied by SAREN and its registry and notaries’ offices (Title V), which will enter into force 180 days after its publication.


In order to access the Decree-Law, please click here.