The Russian legislature — the State Duma — is expected to enact a sweeping business reform bill later this month, and one of its key provisions is a requirement for all real estate transactions to be processed by Notaries. This is the first significant revision of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation in more than 15 years, according to local media reports, and is designed to bring the business climate more in line with the practices in other countries. Notaries in Russia are highly trained legal professionals akin to attorneys. The proposed law would require Notaries to verify the lawfulness and details of all real estate transactions. Notary misconduct would be subject to civil and criminal penalties. The measure, which will go into effect on September 1, if approved, also addresses changes to property ownership rules, how companies are structured, and rules for negotiating business contracts.