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From the Brussels office

16 April 12

Updates on EU matters: access to the notarial profession; company law; cross-border succession

Commission responds on notaries

On 22 March the European Commission reported that it has closed infringement proceedings against Belgium and Luxembourg relating to the nationality condition for access to the notarial profession. This adds to the list of previously closed cases pertaining to Lithuania, Malta, Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Estonia, Italy and Portugal. These member states have amended their legislation following the judgment of the Court of Justice of 24 May 2011, in which it held that the exercise of the profession of notary was not covered by exceptions to the right of establishment set out in article 51 TFEU.

Company law reform consultation

Two major consultations have been launched by the Commission recently in the sphere of company law: first, a general consultation on the modernisation of company law (deadline for responses, 14 May 2012); and secondly, a public consultation on appropriate measures to address the current gender imbalances on company boards, as a preliminary to a potential formal legislative proposal (deadline 28 May 2012).

Cross-border succession cases

In March the European Parliament agreed to a draft regulation on cross-border succession, aiming to simplify the procedure guiding such cases.

Under the new rules, either the law of the habitual residence of a European citizen will apply to the succession, or alternatively a citizen will be able to choose their law of nationality. A proposed European certificate of succession is intended to make the enforcement of rights more effective in cross-border cases.

The proposed regulation should be adopted by June. The United Kingdom and Ireland have so far not indicated an intention to opt in to the regulation.

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