The Romanian Competition Council recently sanctioned two local notary public bodies and their members with fines amounting to approximately EUR 600,000 for price fixing agreements.
The activity of notaries public is subject to a number of regulations, including a Minister of Justice order setting out minimum fees to be charged. Even so, the notary ruling bodies in two counties, Suceava and Botosani, decided to establish their own minimal fees, which were higher than the ones imposed by order of the Minister of Justice, and to disseminate them to members during meetings, by email and by posting them on their websites. Consequently, the vast majority of notaries in the two counties followed the minimum fees thus established. The RCC found that this amounts to a price-fixing agreement.
In December 2017, the RCC finalised another investigation into possible anti-competitive practices of the National Union of Notaries Public in Romania (UNNPR) by accepting certain behavioural commitments, whereby UNNPR undertook, amongst other things, to refrain from setting any minimal fees except the ones provided for by law.