Notaries: the opening up of the profession has finally started

Nearly 1,800 new notaries have been appointed under the Macron law, leading to a 36% increase in the number of offices. An unprecedented expansion for this profession whose demography had been frozen for more than forty years.

According to the Superior Council of Notaries, France currently has 6,227 offices, compared to 4,670 in 2015.

The opening of the profession of notary will have taken time, but the dynamic is now underway. Five years after the Macron law, the profession has experienced an expansion never seen for more than forty years. According to the Superior Council of Notaries, France now has 6,227 offices, against 4,575 in 2016. This 36% increase is a break from past developments, where the number of offices increased only slightly between 2005 and 2012, after a period of withdrawal in the 1980s and 1990s.

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At the same time, the dynamics of the real estate market have been very favorable to the activity of notaries. It is this observation, drawn up in 2013 in a scathing report from the Finance Inspectorate, which inspired the provisions of the Macron law. They relate both to changes in tariffs, the terms of which have just been updated, and to a lottery system allowing new notaries to create their own office.

First difficult steps

The first steps in this procedure were difficult. Contested in court, the draw mechanism was finally validated by the Council of State, which paved the way for a first wave of installations. According to a parliamentary report on the results of the Macron law, published at the end of 2018, 7,500 notaries had applied for a goal of creating 1,650 new offices.

Then the competition authority launched a second wave of installation, providing for the opening of 700 new offices over the period from 2018 to 2020. According to our information, some 200 appointments have taken place under this second card, knowing that there is always a certain time between authorization and the opening of a new office. Overall, nearly 1,800 notaries have been able to set up on their own since the Macron law.

For a while, some feared that the opening up of the profession would be done for the benefit of notaries already associated who had the opportunity to apply for the draw organized by the Competition Authority. This fear, ultimately, did not materialize. According to the parliamentary report at the end of 2018, “Around 90% of appointed notaries are first-time settlers”.