How to become a notary

The Ministry of Justice, through a decision issued by the Directorate-General for Registers and Notarial Affairs, periodically stages an open competitive examination to award the title of notary. The process is announced in the Official State Gazette.

The requirements to apply are as follows:

  • Be a citizen of Spain or any Member State of the European Union.
  • Hold a doctorate, bachelor's degree or equivalent qualification in Law, or have completed the corresponding studies (a quota of places is set aside in each competitive examination for people with disability).

According to the Notarial Regulation in force "there are four competitive examination exercises: the first two oral, and the third and fourth written. Both the first two and the reading of the third exercise and the first part of the fourth are public.

In both oral exercises the topics will be drawn at random from among those included in the programme that must be published in the "Official State Gazette" one year prior to the staging of the public examination.

The programme comprises a presentation of substantive law in force in Spain in each of the subjects covered, in particular, for both Standard National Law and Regional Devolved Law, those that the notary is required to be familiar with and to apply in professional practice, and the knowledge of which will give a notary genuine specialisation. The Civil Law section will include the fundamental principles of International Private Law. Tax legislation will cover those taxes potentially of greatest relevance to notaries in advising imparcially the individuals.

  • The first exercise comprises an oral response, over a maximum period of 60 minutes, to four topics, the first three of them covering Spanish National and Regional Civil Law, and the fourth Tax Legislation. Of the Civil Law topics, one will correspond to general or introductory matters, property and rights in rem; another, to obligations and contracts; and another to Family Law and inheritance.
  • The second exercise in turn likewise comprises a verbal response, over a maximum period of 60 minutes, and in the following order, to six topics: two in Commercial Law, two in Mortgage Law, one in Notarial Law, and another in Procedural or Administrative Law. One of the two Commercial Law and Mortgage Law topics will address each section into which these subjects are divided.
  • The third exercise consists of writing a ruling, drawn up over a maximum period of six hours, on a topic of Spanish National and Regional Civil Law, Commercial Law, Mortgage or Notarial Law, from among those presented by the examining board at its discretion. The issues set out in this exercise will address cases of Substantive law.
  • The fourth exercise, which will likewise have a maximum duration of six hours, is divided into two parts, each of them of the duration established by the panel:
    • First: draw up a notarial authentic instrument or document, being required the candidate to explain in a separate text the legal issues raised or resolved in his or her work, performing the settlement calculation of any tax that would potentially apply to the instrument drawn up.
    • Second: resolve a case of financial mathematics and accounting dealing with the subjects contained in the annex to the competitive examination programme.


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