Swiss Federal Council Promotes the Creation of Digital Public Deeds

Digitalization in the notarization field

The prevailing efforts towards digitization do not stop at the Swiss Federal Council. At its meeting on 30 January 2019, the Federal Council adopted the corresponding Federal Act on the Preparation of Electronic Public Deeds and Electronic Authentications (EÖBG). This was preceded by the Federal Council's efforts to enshrine electronic authentication procedures in law.

According to current law, originals of public deeds must be drawn up as paper documents. In today's age of digitalization and paperless offices, this situation repeatedly confronts companies and private individuals with problems regarding the storage and subsequent retrieval of documents. Since 2012 it has been possible for notaries to produce electronic public deeds. However, this can only be done by subsequently converting the corresponding paper document into a secure electronic document by means of a scanning process. The draft law of the EÖBG is now to change this and regulate throughout Switzerland the prerequisites and possibilities for the direct creation of the original of a deed by the notary in electronic form.

According to the draft law on the EÖBG, the notary who notarizes shall draw up an electronic deed on request. The same shall apply to the certification of copies or signatures, which shall also be made in electronic form. However, the subsequent or simultaneous issue of electronic documents on paper remains possible.

In the draft law on the EÖBG, the Federal Council is to retain the competence to determine the procedure for the creation of electronic deeds and certifications and the technical prerequisites for this. The introduction of the electronic original is also intended to create a federal register for electronic authentic instruments. The register of documents is to be operated by the Swiss Confederation and the documents stored there are to be kept safe from unauthorized access. In addition, the documents in the register remain legible in the long term and any forgeries are easy to prove.

MME Legal Tax Compliance supports the efforts of the Federal Council in this regard, will closely monitor further developments and report on them on an ongoing basis.

We will be happy to advise you on all questions relating to corporate and notarization law and support you in the implementation of your projects in this area, also with a view to the current efforts of the Federal Council in this context.

The German explanatory report from the Federal Office of Justice can be found here.

The German preliminary draft of the Federal Office of Justice can be found here.

February 2019 | Authors: Andreas Rudolf, Olivier Schwartz

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