The City of London's scrivener notaries look set to become the first in the country to be accepted into the notary profession's two international associations.
At the end of November, the scriveners will know whether they have become the first British notaries to join the Brussels-based Conference of Notaries of the European Union, which lobbies the European Commission for Europe's 25,000 notaries.
Robert Urquhart, partner in scrivener notary firm De Pinna, said the decision will give them a chance to dispel misconceptions held by civil law notaries that common law notaries are not up to scratch.
Last month the scrivener notaries joined the Union Internationale du Notariat Latin – a non-political group that represents notaries from 67 civil law jurisdictions. Delegates from France, Germany and Spain scrutinised the qualifications and practice of the scrivener notaries over the summer to ensure they met the union's standards.
As well as standard notary skills, scrivener notaries are fluent in two foreign languages and translate foreign law documents. They also give advice on foreign law, such as commercial property.
There are 30 scrivener notaries in the City practising through partnerships such as Cheeswrights, De Pinna and John Venn, or as individuals.