On the 30th of March, 2015 a new piece of legislation was signed into force in Russia, introducing stringent procedures and rules in order to further validate the authenticity of documents and information provided to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities (‘EGRUL’) in Russia. As a result, notaries have been granted far more extensive powers when it comes to certifying all information that is provided to them;

  • As of the 1st of July, 2015 a notary will have substantially more tools available for identifying individuals and notarising documents. They will have access to the resources and databases of the Federal Migration Service and will have the power to approach the issuing authorities of any personal identification documents.
  • As of the 1st of January, 2016 a notaries will be able to approach EGRUL and the Unified State Register of Individual Entrepreneurs in order to request and obtain information relating to their services.
  • Notaries are now entitled to use recording devices when performing notarial services provided they act in accordance with the new legislation.

In addition to the above, the new legislation has strengthened the powers of the government agencies. The registration authority are now able to perform checks on all the information entered into EGRUL should suspicions arise surrounding its validity. More specifically they will be able to request further information from the legal entities as well as approach specialists and experts in order to investigate matters, they may also visit the property of the entity.

The new law also increases the liability for violations relating to the entering of information into the state register. More specifically, as of the 20th of March, 2015 the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation has been amended to establish criminal liability for entering information in EGRUL relating to ‘front men’. For example, a front man could be considered as an individual elected or appointed as a member of the management body of a legal entity who does not have the true intention to manage the entity.

Further, the amendments have also clarified the powers of notaries and previous discrepancies on the notarisation procedure. For example, it has now been confirmed that documents submitted in hard copy must not contain any corrections, crossed out words or amendments; the document must be easily and clearly readable. Although in some cases notaries can accept amended documents, provided the amendments do not affect the ‘essence of the documents’. In addition, as of the 1st of July, 2015 notaries will be able to accept electronic copies of documents as well as submit certain documentation to the registering authorities in electronic form.