For his work the notary, as a public official, must adhere to strict rules laid down in the code of ethics and the law to ensure, amongst other things, that:
-notarial deeds are in accordance with the will of the parties;
-notarial deeds are valid, meaning in compliance with the law;
-the legal effects of deeds are not affected by any encumbrances or rights of third parties (such as mortgages, foreclosures, easements, pre-emption, etc.) about which the notary did not warn the parties.
If the notary fails to perform his professional duties he is responsible under the law in several cases:
- civil: if he has caused damage to the parties through non-performance of his professional duties, the notary is obliged to make good the damage;
- criminal: if he has committed crimes;
- disciplinary: if he has violated the ethical standards of the profession, the notary must pay pecuniary fines or be suspended from the profession for a specified period of time or, in serious cases, he may be struck off.
In view of these responsibilities, notaries were the first profession in Italy to have set up, as early as 1999, compulsory insurance that by law covers every notary in the case of civil liability for error.
There is also a guarantee fund for damages resulting from criminal offences.
So a member of the public, whether Italian or foreign, who enters the office of a notary public knows that he or she can count on protection both in the case of error as well as in the case of malpractice, and that without exception.
Source : Italian Notarys' Society (Consiglio Nazionale del Notariato)