First of all, it must be indicated that a public document is issued by the State via a Notary, who is a public servant (or by the Spanish Consulate abroad, who is vested with a public function of attestation).
The public document, unlike the private one, is surrounded by a rigorous series of controls and guarantees. (i.e entry in public registers, like the Land Registry office, Last Will Registry office in Madrid, Company House’s Registry, etc ).
Notaries, in their role as public servants, must subsequently oversee not only the formal, but also the material content of the legal acts or businesses they authorize or witness.
Private documents on the other hand are not vested with the same guarantees, and so cannot have the same effect in Court for example.
In other words, the content of a public document will be presumed to be truthful and reliable, because unlike private documents bearing unknown signatures, the Notary’s signature will attest the veracity of the public document, accepting responsibility for its content.
This doesn’t mean that notarial public documents can never be subject to judicial review, but the chances of a public document being struck down in Court are much lower than private documents.
To sum up, the public document is extremely useful and advisable in the traditional fields of family, succession (wills, inheritance Deeds, etc), property (title deeds), contracts (tenancy agreements, important agreements between individuals and corporate law (formation of companies, commercial agreements, etc
In addition, public notarial documents signed in Spain also have validity and enforceability in other EU countries, thanks to the available existing instruments of international legal cooperation within the European Union.
We hope this information is useful and should you have any additional question about this or any other legal matter, please visit any of our two websites: or
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Thank you very much for your attention and permanent support and we look forward to helping you!
Mr Oscar Ricor
“NON-PRACTISING ENGLISH SOLICITOR IN ENGLAND AND WALES”, under the “Solicitors Regulation Authority” (SRA) SRA number 519196 and practicing Spanish Solicitor

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