A unique notarial body serving the public interest

The French Notaries’ Congress (Congrès des notaires de France, CNF) is an institution of over 120 years’ standing, established with the sole object of producing an annual analysis of an  issue of public interest emerging from notarial practice in day to day contact with the citizens of France. 

The lengthy investigative process is conducted by a team of notaries, supported by the Association Congrès Notaires de France, aided by a Chairman and a general rapporteur, both of whom are notaries by profession, and under the oversight of a Professor of Law with acknowledged experience in the field. 

Divided into a number of working groups known as commissions and all operating on a pro bono basis, these notaries engage in an in-depth examination of the issue under consideration, in addition to pursuing their demanding professional activities.

Each year, their findings are presented publicly in various forms:

  • An exhaustive and substantial report, widely circulated, of some 1,000 pages reviewing the law applicable to the issue in question and setting this in the context of the reality of professional practice. The report is seen as a mine of legal information on societal themes.
  • A series of suggestions for improving both the law and professional  practice, which are submitted to the vote of the notaries of France, and then laid before the authorities. These suggestions serve as inspiration for improving any rules that might prove inadequate or unfit for purpose, and constitute potentially valuable learning tools for notaries.
  • An annual democratic and political highlight for 4,000 professionals.
    This professional event is held every year in a different major city, acting as a link between notaries and the authorities. It serves as a finger on the pulse of national policy on justice and access to the law, featuring contributions from leading political and economic figures and attended by 140 key players and business and non-profit partners. 
    The CNF exhibition hosts over 60 French non-profits and foundations working in every field of public interest. 

As the only professional body authorised to speak on behalf of all French notaries, the High Council of Notaries (Conseil supérieur du notariat)  is a public interest body. It represents the profession in its relations with the authorities, sets its overall policy, contributes to the development of the profession and provides shared services to notaries.  In its dealings with the authorities, the High Council participates in reflections on changes in the law and gives its opinion on draft legislation or regulations in the process of being drawn up. The High Council employs a staff of over 100, serving the notarial profession.