Notary’s Office

Due to the federal system in Switzerland, the notary’s office is exclusively a matter for the cantons. They determine the manner in which public notarization is established in their canton. However, federal law imposes certain minimum requirements on the form of public notarization, which must be taken into account by the cantons. Furthermore, these must not make access to public notarization excessively difficult. In addition, federal law lays down its own provisions for certain certification procedures (e.g. for testamentary dispositions). Basically, there are three different organizational forms of the notary’s office in Switzerland: the freelance notary’s office (e.g. cantons AG, BE and BS), the official notary’s office (cantons SH and ZH) and various mixed forms (e.g. cantons AR, GR and SG). In some places, it is also permitted for lawyers to conduct the profession of notary as a secondary business, such as in the canton St.Gallen.