Notary Public Services

A Notary Public (or Public Notary) is a public officer authorised by legislation, and appointed by a State or Territory Court, who provides a range of national and international official services, mainly in relation to the witnessing and certification of legal documents.

We can provide a range of notarial services including:

  • attesting (proving) the authenticity of documents and certifying their proper execution for use in Australia and overseas;
  • certifying true copies of original documents for use in Australia and overseas;
  • preparing and certifying powers of attorney, wills, deeds, contracts and other legal documents for use in Australia and overseas;
  • administering oaths for the giving of evidence;
  • taking and witnessing statutory declarations;
  • noting and protesting bills of exchange;
  • preparation of ships’ protests.

What’s the difference between a Justice of the Peace and a Notary Public?

While a Justice of the Peace may certify and witness certain documents in Australia, a Notary Public has the power to authenticate a range of national and international documents.

Who may become a Notary Public?

To be appointed a Notary Public in New South Wales, a person must:

  • hold a current Australian practising certificate (as a solicitor, legal practitioner or barrister);
  • have at least five years’ experience in the practice of law;
  • have completed the prescribed Notarial Practice Course;
  • apply through the Legal Profession Admission Board.

Once appointed, Notary Publics obtain their own official ‘seal’ or ‘stamp’ which is registered with his or her signature and stored in a database held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The seal/stamp is placed alongside or underneath the notary’s signature on the document that is being authorised, certified, or witnessed.

When are notarial services required?

The services of a notary may be required for some international commercial transactions, for example, notarising overseas trade documents, letters of credit, or contracts between foreign businesses. Notarial services may also be needed for certain international trademark, copyright or patent matters.

On a personal level, you may need documents notarised if you intend using them overseas or if the documents have issued from another country and you need to use them in Australia. Common personal notary services include the certification of passports, academic transcripts and testamurs, citizenship certificates, overseas police checks and probate documents where overseas assets form part of an estate.

Attending a Notary Public

Notaries must confirm the identity of any person for whom they provide services. If you have an appointment with a Notary Public, you will need to bring documents sufficient to prove your identity, for example, a current valid passport, birth certificate, driver’s licence and/or other documentation to confirm your current address. We will advise which proof of identity documents are required before your appointment.

When taking an oath, a notary must also make an assessment that the signatory has sufficient mental capacity to understand the nature and effect of the document he or she is signing or attesting.

If a signatory is acting in an official capacity (such as a director of a registered company), the notary must be satisfied that the person has capacity to act in that manner. In such cases, the signatory may need to provide a power of attorney as well as personal identity documents.

Documents that are not in English may need to be translated before they can be administered by a notary.

If you require notary services or have been told that you need something notarised but are unsure what this actually involves, please contact our office so we can step through the relevant process and identification documents required.

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice, please contact France Booth (02) 9958 1994 or email [email protected]