Azerbaijan has an interesting history of notary system. As in all countries, the formation of notarial acts in Azerbaijan coincides with the establishment of states and their development, as well as the emergence of written evidence. The first major slave state in the territory of Azerbaijan was Manna. At the beginning of the first millennium BC, a will, which was a notarial act in the first slave state of Azerbaijan, was drawn up both in written and verbal form. Verbal statements of a testator before witnesses were also taken into account. During the verbal testimony, the witnesses became a kind of notary and if necessary, they were called to certify the testimony of the testator after his/her death. The formation of feudal economic relations in the territory of Azerbaijan dates back to the beginning of the III century AD, when notarial acts were carried out by secretaries.
“Letter of Tansar” created in the VI century and “Matikan” created in 620 are considered as legal monuments of Sasanian Empire. “Matikan” is also called as a Sasanian Legislation. According to the “Letter of Tansar”, community members are divided into four level, thus, clerks and officials drawing up contracts belonged to third level. Inheritance issues are covered in detail in “Matikan”. At that time a will was a written document dictated to a clerk or another official before witnesses.
The will of the high priest Aturpat states that, the document was written on the basis of testator’s words – verbal statement. Both verbal and written wills were valid prior to the adoption of Sasanian Legislation, but since 620 only written will was valid.Conclusion of marriage contract which is new in our country was considered in “Matikan”. According to the national tradition of Azerbaijan when couples get married a bride has to bring some necessary household stuff, instead of this a groom has to pay some amount of money to bride’s parents, thus, those things and money were mentioned in ancient marriage contracts. Priests were in charge of court cases, but notarial acts were handled by secretaries.
In the VII-IX centuries, when Azerbaijan was under the rule of the Arab Caliphate, the judiciary in the center and places was exercised by judges called “qazi” appointed by the caliphs. Besides court cases, the judges drew up civil and legal documents, concluded contracts and transactions. Judges were paid by population for those services. At the beginning of the VIII century, after Islam became the dominant religion in Azerbaijan, Sharia and Muslim Law which are the inseparable parts of Islam religion played major role in legal system of Azerbaijan. 282nd verse of Surat al-Baqara of the Holy Quran states: “When you lend something to each other for a period of time, write it down! Let it be written down by a secretary! Let a secretary write it down as Allah (God) told him! Let him who owes a debt write it down by word of mouth, and let him not decrease the amount. If the debtor is unintelligent and weak (old and child), or he can’t speak, in this case, let his representative say the debt. Let two men be witnesses! Let witnesses not avoid this case. Do not be lazy to write the debt on time (for how long), even if it is more or less! Your work is fairer in the sight of God, more accurate in testimony, and closer to the truth, so that you may not doubt.” Judges were appointed by people who knew Sharia law excellently and one of the main duty of judges was to register civil-legal contracts and agreements.History of Azerbaijan notary