In Germany, Notaries are independent holders of a public office. Unlike for example in the US, they are highly qualified lawyers. Access to the notary's profession is restricted by law to guarantee the notaries' high qualification and independence. In the Palatia region (including the areas of Landstuhl, Ramstein and Kaiserslautern) there are only full-time professional notaries. The number of notaries here is about 55.
Anyone wishing to become a notary must first have successfully passed both state law examinations. Only the very best candidates of these exams get the chance of being appointed. Appointments are made by the department of justice. In preparation of the responsible activity as a full-time professional notary, the legislator stipulates a standard three-year period of service as a notary candidate. During this time, the candidates are extensively prepared for their future work as notaries. After the three-year period, the candidates can apply for being appointed as a notary. As the number of notaries is limited, they would only be appointed if another notary retires from his profession. It is not possible to just open an office anywhere.
Many notaries have worked as an attorney or a judge before. In so far the notary here has nearly nothing in common with the „notary public“ of the Anglo-American legal system. And unlike for example an attorney, the notary's legal duty of strict impartiality is always at the centre of his activity.