Tuscany Legal Matters

by Samuele Sodini

Can you explain the roles of the notaio and the avvocato in Italy?
Answer: With pleasure. The notaio (notary is the nearest translation) in Italy has much wider powers and responsibilities than in common law countries such as the U.S., the U.K. or Australia and is a legally trained professional specialising in documentary transactions.
Notaries are independent professionals yet they have a public function and are empowered by the state. They are vested with important powers and public authority to cover a broad spectrum of functions from drafting, approving, authenticating, notarising and registering legal documents. Notaries have a legal duty to ensure that all entries in the public registers are correct.
Not only do they have to verify and guarantee the identities and bona fides of all parties who appear before them to conclude a business transaction, they must also make sure that all parties fully understand the legal effects of the transaction in question, that the wording in the documents is not ambiguous and that it reflects their intentions.
Being a public official, a notary cannot represent a client the same way as an avvocato can and therefore will not be able to advise on the specific merits of a purchase or contract. Being an avvocato (I’ll use the word lawyer from now on) involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services.
These lawyers form the backbone of the legal system linking it to society in numerous ways. They hold positions of great responsibility and are obliged to adhere to a strict code of ethics. Lawyers represent one of the parties in criminal and civil trials by presenting evidence and arguing in court to support their client. They also counsel their clients about their legal rights and obligations and suggest a particular course of action in business and personal matters.
They apply the law to the specific circumstances faced by their client. The more detailed aspects of a lawyer’s job depend upon his or her field of specialization and position. Although all lawyers are licensed to represent parties in court, some appear in court more frequently than others. Those who specialize in criminal law must be able to think quickly and speak with ease and authority. In addition, familiarity with courtroom rules and strategy is particularly important in trial work. Lawyers may specialize in a number of areas such as bankruptcy, international or environmental law.
Most of them are in a private practice concentrating on criminal or civil law. In criminal law, lawyers represent individuals who have been charged with crimes and argue their cases in a court of law. Those dealing with civil law assist clients with litigation, wills, trusts, contracts, mortgages, titles and leases. Other lawyers handle only public interest cases civil or criminal concentrating on particular causes and choosing cases that might have an impact on the way the law is applied. Lawyers must be geographically mobile and able to reach their clients, so they might use electronic filing, web and video-conferencing and voice-recognition technology to share information more effectively. Ilaria Cipriani is 25, Anglo-Italian (Italian father, British mother) and studied law at Pisa University where she was awarded an honours degree. She now works in a busy law practice in criminal law, civil law and international commercial law. She will be happy to answer any legal questions you may wish to ask.
Email ilariacipriani3@ virgilio.it, write to her at Studio Legale Treggi, Corso Garibaldi 26, 55100 Lucca, or contact her through Grapevine. Knight and Frank, the international real estate agent handling first class properties across the world, now has an office in Lucca! On Friday 18 April they gave a cocktail party at Villa Boccella, Saltocchio, with around 300 people attending, to celebrate the launch of their joint association with Ser.Imm srl located in Via della Fratta 19 in Lucca. Jennifer Gale, one of the people in charge of this new venture, is available at her email address jenny@serimm.net or cell +39 3488802005. To visit their website go to www.serimm.net “

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