Legal training for trainee notaries U 2/15
‘There is consistency between the Act on Notaries Public and the challenged provision of the Regulation of the Minister of Justice, which stipulates that trainee notaries who, for justified reasons, failed to participate in the requisite number of classes are allowed to make up for their absences within one year from the statutory date of the completion of the legal training,’ stated the Constitutional Tribunal.
On 16 February 2017 at 10.00 a.m., the Constitutional Tribunal publicly delivered a ruling, issued at a sitting in camera, on an application of the National Council of Notaries Public filed with regard to legal training for trainee notaries.
The Constitutional Tribunal adjudicated that § 8(5), second sentence, of the Regulation of 17 December 2013 issued by the Minister of Justice with regard to the organisation and course of legal training for trainee notaries is consistent with Article72(1), first sentence, and Article 75 of the Act of 14 February 1991 on Notaries Public.
Moreover, the Constitutional Tribunal decided to discontinue the proceedings as to the remainder.
The ruling was adopted unanimously.
The Constitutional Tribunal stated that § 8(5), second sentence, of the Regulation of the Minister of Justice on the organisation and course of legal training for trainee notaries (hereinafter: the 2013 Regulation), by providing for a possibility of making up for absences at required classes, which a given trainee missed for justified reasons, was issued on the basis of statutory authorisation for determining the organisation and course of legal training for trainee notaries.
Article 75 of the Act on Notaries Public authorises the Minister of Justice to determine, inter alia, the mode of proceedings with relation to “the lack of the possibility of performing the duties of a trainee notary”. The Minister of Justice also took into account the provision pursuant to which the exclusion of a trainee from the list of trainee notaries is only admissible due to failure to complete the aforementioned training within a statutory term-limit only this occurs “without a justified reason” (Art. 78a(1)(5) of the Act on Notaries Public).
The main part of the allegation of the National Council of Notaries Public was an attempt to prove that the challenged provision of the 2013 Regulation does not take account of the requirement that “the statutory period of legal training for trainee notaries” should be taken into account. The Tribunal agreed with the stance of the National Council of Notaries Public that the statutory period of legal training for trainee notaries, which is specified in Article 72(1), first sentence, of the Act on Notaries Public (3 years and 6 months), may be subject neither to shortening nor extension by means of a regulation. However, one may not agree with the statement that the said provision sets a fixed time-limit in the sense that a trainee notary who commences the aforementioned training on 1 January of a certain year must complete the training precisely three and a half years later. “The statutory period of legal training for trainee notaries” actually constitutes a time-frame (a series of training sessions) within which professional training should be conducted.
Stipulated in the challenged provision, the possibility of making up for absences from required classes does not result in the extension of the statutory period of the training; nor does it result in an automatic extension of the said period, unlike argued by the National Council of Notaries Public. In every case, the legal training lasts three years and six months. On the basis of the challenged provision, making up for absences from classes during the period of the training at which a trainee notary was absent for justified reasons. Making up for the absences does not entail participating in new legal training. When adopting challenged § 8(5), second sentence, of the 2013 Regulation, the Minister of Justice took into account the statutory period of the legal training.
Also, the Constitutional Tribunal noted that the lack of the challenged provision would eliminate the possibility of making up for the absences that occurred, for justified reasons, before the end of the statutory period of the training. Unlike provisions regulating the course of legal training for trainee advocates and trainee legal advisers, the provisions on legal training for trainee notaries permit of no repetition of a year of the training.
The hearing was presided over by Judge Leon Kieres, and the Judge Rapporteur was Judge Piotr Pszczółkowski.