Information Technology Reaches Registries & Notaries

Author:Mr Miguel Osio Zamora
Profession:Torres Plaz & Araujo Abogados

Faced with the expiry of the term of the Enabling Law, the National Executive issued the Decree-Law of Public Registry and Notarial System (LRPN)1. We were asked to collaborate in the drafting of this Decree-Law, in order to incorporate the provisions necessary to facilitate the use of information technology in the Registry and Notarial System.

Marking a new era of advancement in our country, a series of provisions was drafted that, once implemented, will place us in the forefront of a completely electronic Registry and Notarial System. The system will be online and its internal and external processes will be automated and digital.

These provisions reflect the State's commitment to taking the necessary steps for Venezuela to embark upon a proper modernization process and, with the enactment in February 2001 of the Decree-Law of Data Messages and Electronic Signatures, a new legal system has been implemented, incorporating the use of electronic media and technological tools as instruments for creating rights and obligations.

The text of the LRPN not only contains the provisions necessary to enable technological media and instruments to exercise the functions of Notaries and Registrars, but also was carefully worded to avoid confusion or possible interpretations contrary to the use of technology in relevant aspects.

I The Fundamental Principle

We should stress that the precedent for the provisions contained in the LRPN relating to the development and use of information technologies, lies in Articles 3 and 6 of the Decree-Law of Data Messages and Electronic Signatures itself. The former Article states that "the State shall adopt the measures necessary to enable the public agencies to develop their functions, using the mechanisms described in this Decree-Law" and the latter states that "when the law requires compliance with solemnities or formalities for certain acts or legal procedures, these may be accomplished by utilizing the mechanisms described in this Decree-Law" 2

Expressing the same ideas in the same order, Article 2 of the LRPN establishes as a general principle that "...To comply with registry and notary functions, and the formalities and solemnities of acts or legal procedures, the mechanisms and the electronic media established by law may be used." Clearly, the new special law thereby definitively establishes electronic media as mechanisms not only for automated processes, but also for the performance of the normal functions...

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