The Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries has issued a Practice Note concerning the minimum requirements for the notarial practice in relation to the keeping of records. The Practice Note, which has been circulated to members of the College today, states that the following matters should be retained by Notaries Public:
- The date that the notarial service was offered to the client;
- The name and address of the client to whom the notarial service is being provided;
- The particulars of the service, described in concise terms;
- The manner in which the client was identified by the notary, including the identification particulars;
- In the event that the client was acting in a representative capacity (eg. if the client was a corporate entity and the person giving instructions to the notary was a director of that company) then evidence that establishes that the person was legitimately acting in his purported representative capacity must also be recorded;
- The basis upon which an original document was certified;
- Any unique number (such as an index number or serial number) of any document that was connected to the notarial act or certificate, where that document or copy thereof is to be retained by the notary in his protocol;
- The details of any non-notarial services provided to the client which were adjunct to the notarial service;
- Fees charged for services rendered;
- Any special notes or notations in relation to the notarisation or the client.
Notarial records can be retained electronically or in hard copy format, however these must be kept in a secure location and treated according to how a legal practitioner would be expected to treat sensitive and confidential documents.
Importantly, the College recommends that:
- Notaries should retain records for a period of twelve years in relation to marine protests, records relating to notarial intervention and originals and copies of authentic form acts;
- Recommendation 1 is subject to the individual State and Territory regulatory requirements for notarial practices in relation to the retention of records.
NB: The above is a summary and interpretation of the Practice Note. For a complete copy of the Practice Note, readers are strongly encouraged to contact the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries directly.
In line with the requirements of notarial practice in New South Wales, as outlined in the Notarial Practice Course (College of Law, “Continuing Professional Development: Seminar Papers: Notarial Practice” #CN130703_NOT1, 30 July 2013, at p. 7) clients should expect that a copy of the notarial act or certificate which is drafted, produced and executed by the notary will be retained for the notarial record.