Shanghai notary reform pilot participation in judicial assistance
It has been over ten years since the issuing of the Notarization Law, and the notarial system has been continuously promoted, with the notarial cause constantly developing. The notarization reform is paramount in the judicial administrative reform system of the Ministry of Justice this year. By the end of November 14th, 889 administrative system notarization institutions in the country had completed the task of reform in advance. The reform of the notary institutional system is only the first step in the notarization reform. How to better serve the economic and social development, to prevent and resolve contradictions and disputes, and to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the parties is the ultimate path leading to notary reform. Shanghai, as a national notarial vanguard, has made a lot of useful explorations in expanding and innovating the field of notarization service.
Notarization participate in judicial assistance
Tongtong, 3 years old, is suffering from a rare genetic metabolic disease. The family grew scorched while caring for Tongtong and they had disagreement and deepening contradiction regarding the treatment plan. Her father and mother finally chose to part from each other. To ensure adequate funds for later medical treatment of Tongtong, the parents took 10 thousand yuan from their joint savings as a special fund for Tongtong. But they disagreed with each other concerning who was to keep the account with each party having their own saying. The representative of children’s rights proposed that the account and funds should be kept by the notary institution and it should be used under the supervision of the representative of children’s rights. The smooth resolution of this case is an epitome of judicial assistance of Putuo Notary Office over the past more than three years.
Notarization has been regarded as a civil judicial assisting system for a long time, but with the development of notarization reform, the notary system is no longer only limited to its auxiliary role in assisting civil justice. It has gradually become an important part of the diversified dispute solution mechanism, and to a certain extent, has played of role of "replacing lawsuit". Putuo Notary Office is undoubtedly "the first crab eater" in China.
Since 2014, the Putuo notary office has been cooperating with Putuo Court for pilot docking of litigation and notarization. In June 2015 and April 2016, Putuo Notary Office and the Putuo Court respectively signed a "Trial Implementation of Docking between Notarization and Litigation Mediation" and "Notarization and Litigation Docking Cooperation Agreement", established the notarization consultancy window in the court, and jointly set up a "docking litigation and notarization studio" in the court litigation service center. The notary office had four officers in the litigation service center of the court to carry out preliminary examination of family disputes in Case-Filing Chamber of the court before rendering them to the studio through the Lawsuit Mediation Center. When the agreement is reached through mediation, the notarial office will issue a corresponding notarial document. This kind of cases will not enter judicial proceedings, which realizes the role of notarization in replacing the litigation. When the parties fail to reach an agreement or when cases cannot be resolved through notarization procedures, notary institutions issue law opinion documents of notarization containing the relevant law facts and the focus of controversy and return relevant case documents through litigation and mediation center to the court. In principle, the court will not provide further mediation, which realizes the role notarization in judicial assistance.
The preposition of notarization procedures has promoted the diversified solutions of contradictions and disputes, and relieved the courts of the pressure of "more cases but fewer people". Since the docking of notarization and litigation, the number of cases received in Putuo Court has dropped by about 80% compared with the same period of last year, and the rate of petition letters and retrial cases as a result of litigation mediation have dropped significantly.
Gao Jianhong, director of the Putuo notarization office, told the reporter, unlike ordinary forms of examinations, notarial mediation carries out substantive examination. At present, notarization institutions have direct access to the relevant database to directly inquire into the information of real estate, household registration, notarization will, and marriage status and so on. Putuo Notary Office is also aligned with the Archive Center and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention with direct online access to information of marriage registration and the death records, etc. The notary office staff are able to find out relevant facts through the quick verification channel, which greatly facilitates parties with difficulties in submitting evidences or parties with the other side out of town.
The substantive examination of Putuo Notary Office also exposes some false litigations, leaving them nowhere to hide. In dealing with an inheritance case, Putuo Notary Office found that the Wang bothers who were inheritors to the involved real estate property, insisted that their parents both had had only one marriage and that they had only raised two children. While looking up in the registered marriage records of the deceased, however, the notary office found that before Mr. Wang and Mrs. Wang got married, she had another marriage and had a daughter. It was only then that the two brothers admitted they had a uterine half-sister. A notary explained to the brothers about the relevant laws. Two months later, the Wang brothers and the elder sister who lived far out of town reached a reconciliation agreement at the notary office. The Wang brothers would pay their elder sister corresponding compensation, and hence a false litigation was nipped in the bud. It is known that from July 2015 to July 2017, Putuo Notary Office received nearly 2000 person/time consultancies at the Litigation Service Center. More than 760 cases of marriage and family-related cases were directly diverted through the court-guiding desk. The notarization and litigation docking studio received 542 cases transferred from the Case-Filing Chamber of the Court, provided verifying information for more than 80 cases, and ascertained 12 false litigations.
Housing draw lots ensure justice and fairness
In Shanghai with its pricy land, the universal requirements from citizens for the housing draw are justice, openness and fairness, whether it is for commercial housing or housing resettlement, which has also become a touchstone for the social governance of the government. The figures of notaries can be seen throughout these key links.
Songjiang District is an area in the city relatively concentrated with resettlement housing. In order for the resettlement housing which is in short supply to achieve just, open and fair draw, Songjiang Notary Office has participated in the resettlement housing work of all the towns since 2015. In these three years, Songjiang notary office carried out altogether 19467 draws for resettlement housing. The scope of its service covered most of the streets and towns in Songjiang District.
When speaking about the reason behind the resettlement housing draw notarization, Gu Haiyuan, director of Songjiang notary office, told reporters that, because of the limitations and difficulties, there appeared an embarrassing dilemma of “too many people for too few houses”, and that the delivery delays for the resettlement housing had caused complaints from resettled households. In light of such a situation, the government and the resettlement department actively asked the notary office to intervene in order to ensure the fairness of the draw. Taking into account the actual situation of resettled households, Songjiang Notary Office did not use the computer lottery software, but chose the more troublesome method of drawing lots, which was easier and clearer for the resettled households. For this, a drawing could take the notary office months of continuous work ranging from hearing the opinion of the resident representatives to the design of notarial procedures.
"Since notarization is to ensure justice and fairness and to eliminate concerns of people, the design of the drawing procedures should also set off from the needs of common people." During the preparation for the housing draw that just concluded, Gu Haiyuan and his colleagues went through several shifts of plans. Originally the town planned to use the lottery system for the resettlement housing by making house packages containing a set of different features of houses as in the size, the floor, etc.. "Everyone's situation is different, and everyone has different opinions about the so-called good houses and bad ones. The seemingly fair packaging of houses may not be what people really want." Gu Haiyuan believed that the opinions of residents were also reasonable. After consultation with the town government, the plan was eventually changed to drawing lots to choose different houses. Despite the fact that the workload would be greatly increased, Gu Haiyuan said that as long as people are satisfied, it doesn't matter if they have to work hard.
In Gu Haiyuan's view, credibility is the life of the notary industry. To this end, Songjiang Notary Office resolutely eradicates any "secret operations". Gu Haiyuan is from Sheshan with many local friends and relatives in the area. When Sheshan town was holding the resettlement housing draw, one of his childhood friends came to him, hoping to get a good number through secret operation. Gu Haiyuan rejected him with no hesitation. Many of his relatives were among the resettled households to draw this time. In order to be fair, he avoided the whole course. The final results of the draw showed that all Gu Haiyuan's relatives drew "late" numbers that would make their turn of choosing houses behind most people. At this moment, the person who had come for special favor expressed his feelings: "My draw is better than all your relatives'. You have my admiration. I believe the notary office."
Internet + Notarization, open 24 hours a day
With the popularity of WeChat and other mobile social apps, more and more people apply them for services like personal communication, business negotiation, information consultancy and so on. Once disputes occur between the two parties and lawl proceedings are involved, the chat content is very likely to be the key evidence of a case. However, this kind of chat tools often have the following disadvantages: One party can prevent the other party from accessing related chat history or identity information through deleting contacts or blacklisting the other party, thus denying the chat content before, and making it impossible for the chat to be used as evidence.
Miss Li worked at this company before, and communicated through WeChat with the person in charge regarding labor disputes. Miss Li realized that this conversation would become powerful evidence in labor arbitration, and therefore applied to the notary office for notarization of the evidence. When notarizing the conversation, Changning Notary Office also notarized the WeChat identity information of the person in charge of the company, so as to preserve the effectiveness of the conversation. After Miss Li brought the dispute to labor arbitration, sure enough, the person in charge deleted her as a WeChat friend and denied the authenticity of the original dialogue. The evidence Miss Li had notarized played a key role at this time.
Despite the great significance of notarization in civil activities, the painstaking running about from one place to another during notarization has become the reason why people "dare not" go through with notarization process. To solve this, Changning Notary Office resorts to information technology to make notarization more and more convenient for the public. In June 2015, Changning Notary Office established a service platform for remote video notarization consultancy, becoming the first to apply Internet video technology in the notary industry of the city. It was a new attempt to extend the tentacles of notarization law consultancy service to the community directly. At present, the service of remote video consultancy has docked with five community sites: Huayang Street, Beixinjing Street, Jiangsu Street, Tianshan Zhang Yayu Party office, and the legal aid center of Changning District. As long as citizens walk into these docked community sites, they can have "face to face" communications with the notary, having further smoothed communication with the public and actively connected "the last mile" in contacting people and serving people ".
Meanwhile, Changning Notary Office is expanding the scope of the network notarization. In August 2016, the "Online service center" of Changning Notary Office was officially established, the first notarial office in the city to carry out online notarization service. To the reporter's knowledge, the "Online service center" has now been upgraded to version 2.0 and achieved platform integration for notarization service of the official website, WeChat, mobile APP. So far, Changning Notary Office has set up an integrated and interconnected online and offline notarization service system. Annually, more than 700 people/time on average are received via the online platform for notary consultancy, and more than 1000 cases are accepted on average.
As the city's pilot office for "It takes one run at most" notarization service, Changning Notary Office proposed the convenient service initiative of "Norization+ Internet, 24 hours open for notarization application” in September 11th this year, and determined two methods to realize it:" online platform application "and" delivery by express". Up to now, the "Three-network integration" platform has added more than 504 registered users. Four categories of 192 notarization cases were dealt with under "It takes one run at most" and four categories of more than 140 person/time notary consultations involving " It takes one run at most" were answered online. For the pilot work of "It takes one run at most" which is simultaneously carried out on the reception window, four categories of more than 1082 cases have been received. The majority of notarization applicators have truly experienced the convenience brought by “It takes one run at most" initiative. (Chen Yingting)