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.

Visit us at Tauil & Chequer

Founded in 2001, Tauil & Chequer Advogados is a full service law firm with approximately 90 lawyers and offices in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Vitória. T&C represents local and international businesses on their domestic and cross-border activities and offers clients the full range of legal services including: corporate and M&A; debt and equity capital markets; banking and finance; employment and benefits; environmental; intellectual property; litigation and dispute resolution; restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency; tax; and real estate. The firm has a particularly strong and longstanding presence in the energy, oil and gas and infrastructure industries as well as with pension and investment funds. In December 2009, T&C entered into an agreement to operate in association with Mayer Brown LLP and become "Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown LLP."

© Copyright 2020. Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. All rights reserved.

This article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.