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Milestone in digitalisation of notarial profession: German Federal Chamber of Notaries develops online company law procedures with help from adesso

The German Federal Chamber of Notaries hailed the first online formation of a GmbH (a limited liability company under German law), which took place on 1 August 2022, as a “milestone in the digitalisation of the notarial profession”. As well as forming a GmbH, it is now possible to make applications to the commercial and cooperative registers digitally. The German Federal Chamber of Notaries commissioned IT service provider adesso to design and develop the key specialist application required to implement online procedures in company law.

The solution developed by adesso is a supplementary option to a personal appointment with the notary on site. Procedures under company law, such as appointing a managing director or changing the business address, can from now on be carried out easily and conveniently online as well. adesso created the application as part of a three-year software development project on behalf of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries. The application consists of a web-based system for the notary and, for members of the public, a web application and free smartphone app available under “Notary” in the Android and iOS app stores.

The system meets the highest data protection and security requirements. Authentication and certification can be conducted online via the video conferencing system of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries without face-to-face appointments in the notary’s office. During the video conference, the notary can provide documents, read them out and authorise clients to sign electronically (“remote signature”), protected by a digital signature certificate. The notary also signs the document electronically and records it in the electronic document archive. All the relevant data is stored in encrypted form on servers located exclusively in Germany, to ensure absolute confidentiality in the digital process as well.

The parties involved are identified by means of an electronic ID with top-level security. Clients must register using the “eID” feature of the German electronic identity card (nPA) via a QR code process developed by adesso. All relevant data and documents can then be shared with the notary. The system also checks whether the identity document has been forged or stolen, to prevent companies being formed under false identities.

Candidate notary Martin Thelen, press officer for the German Federal Chamber of Notaries, sees the project as a milestone in digitalising the notarial profession: “The notaries are actively promoting digitalisation with huge commitment. Alongside the notarial online procedure, the German Federal Chamber of Notaries has already successfully implemented two major digitalisation projects this year with the Electronic Archive of Authentic Acts.”

Jens Spitczok von Brisinski, head of the Public Administration division at adesso, explains what makes the project so special: “We are pleased with the successful launch of the new online procedures at the German Federal Chamber of Notaries. A particular highlight for us at adesso was connecting the software we created to the existing notary systems, allowing us to integrate modern security mechanisms such as eID with remote electronic signatures and modern video conferencing technology.”

In the coming year, the notarial online procedure will again be expanded with the support of adesso. From 1 August 2023 onwards, it will also be possible to form a limited liability company with contributions in kind, change a limited liability company’s articles of association and apply to join the register of associations online. In addition, the German Federal Chamber of Notaries has commissioned adesso to continue providing support for the notarial online procedure.

The German Federal Chamber of Notaries provides further details about the new procedure in company law on its website

Jens Spitczok von Brisinski

Jens Spitczok von Brisinski is head of the business unit Public Administration at adesso: "For adesso, the connection of the solution to the existing and surrounding systems in the notary sector with the integration of modern security mechanisms such as eID for electronic remote signature and modern video conferencing technology was a special highlight." (Copyright: adesso)

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