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LITHUANIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY WILL APPEAL AGAINST COURT JUDGEMENT ON CARTEL AGREEMENT BETWEEN NOTARIES

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The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba evaluated the judgement of Vilnius Regional Administrative Court repealling the watchdog‘s decision on a cartel agreement between the Lithuanian Chamber of Notaries and members of its Presidium, and decided to bring an appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court.

Konkurencijos taryba is going to request the Supreme Administrative Court to annul the judgement of Vilnius Regional Administrative Court. The authority will also seek to reestablish its findings, according to which the Lithuanian Chamber of Notaries and eight members of its Presidium adopted decisions, thereby restricting the ability of the notaries to apply lower notary fees and offer more favorable ones to consumers.

The Council imposed EUR 88,400 fine on the Lithuanian Chamber of Notaries, and fines ranging from EUR 100 to EUR 20,800 on eight members of the Presidium for the infringements of the Law on Competition and the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.

Having completed the investigation, Konkurencijos taryba also sent recommendation to the Government to consider amendments to the Law on Notaries that would eliminate the obligation on the Ministry of Justice to negotiate fees with the Lithuanian Chamber of Notaries, a self-government body which unites all notaries.

Taking into account the remarks submitted by the authority, the Government prepared draft laws proposing changes to the procedure of setting fees for notaries and bailiffs. On 21 November 2018, after the approval of the Seimas, amendments to the Law on the Notary Office and the Law on Bailiffs entered into force. They envisage that the Minister of Justice shall set the amount of fees for the services of notaries and bailiffs upon the approval by the Minister of Finance only.