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Notary Public

A notary public is an Australian legal practitioner who is authorised to witness and authenticate documents, administer oaths, and certify copies of original documents for use in legal proceedings, commercial transactions, and other purposes, for overseas.use. Australian notaries are typically senior practising solicitors appointed through a relevant state or territory Supreme Court.

When appointed, public notaries have an official “seal” or “stamp” which is registered along with their signature and stored in a database held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The seal or stamp is placed alongside or underneath a notary’s signature when carrying out their notarial duties.

The role of a notary public

Notaries play an important role in facilitating international trade and commerce, as they can verify and certify documents that are used in transactions across different legal jurisdictions. The notary’s role is to identify the person signing the document and endorse a certificate, seal and signature so that the documents and transactions are recognised as genuine and legally binding.overseas.

The services a notary public may be required to attend to are:

  • Authenticate legal documents such as affidavits, statutory declarations, and powers of attorney, by witnessing the signature of the person signing the document and verifying their identity.
  • Certify copies of original documents such as passports, birth certificates, and academic transcripts, by comparing the copy to the original and verifying that it is a true and accurate copy.
  • Witness the signing of contracts and other legal documents to ensure the documents are signed voluntarily.
  • Certify international documents for use overseas, for example, a marriage certificate or academic transcript may need to be certified by a notary to be recognised in another country.
  • Administer oaths and affirmations – these are formal promises to tell the truth in legal proceedings or other situations where a person needs to make a solemn declaration.

Attending your appointment

When performing their duties, notaries must confirm the identity of the person signing a document or swearing an oath. The notary must also make an informed decision that the signatory has legal capacity and understands the nature and effect of the document being signed and/or attested. If the signatory is acting in an official capacity (such as a director of a registered company), the notary must be satisfied that the person has legal capacity to act in that manner.

When retaining the services of a notary public, signatories must ensure they have sufficient identification documents (for example, Passport, original birth certificate, driver’s licence, Medicare card, power of attorney) to verify their identity and, where relevant, authority to act.

When making an appointment to attend with a notary public, you should obtain details of the identification and other documents required as well as any other information necessary for the notary to provide their services. Some documents that are not in English may need to be translated before they can be processed by a notary.

Our firm provides notary public services. If you need assistance in this area, please contact John Comino at [email protected] or call 02 9386 5888 for expert legal advice.

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