In Switzerland, the organization of notarial practice is a cantonal matter. According to Art. 55 of the final item of the Civil Code (SchlT ZGB), the Cantons decide how public certification (definition of the term in German) is handled.
This is part of Switzerland's federalist system and has lead to the current situation in which each Canton has chosen the model for public certification that serves them best.
Today, there are three primary ways of organizing the notary in Switzerland: the self-employed notary (AG, BE, BL, BS, FR, GE, NE, JU, TI, UR, VD, VS - links to German website), the official notary (Amtsnotariat) (SH and ZH - links to German website) and various hybrids of these two forms (AI, AR, GL, GR, LU, NW, OW, SG, SO, SZ, TG, ZG - links to German website).
There are, however, exceptions regarding the Cantons' responsibility to regulate public certification.
The Federal Law imposes certain minimum requirements on public certification, which all Cantons have to meet. At the same time, for the purpsoe of maximum requirements, no Canton is allowed to overcomplicate access to public certification.
Furthermore, the Federal Law stipulates a number of rules regarding certain certification procedures, especially within Inheritance Law regarding public dispositions upon death.
You can find information regarding notarial regulations for each Canton on our German website.