There are no standardised official forms for the drafting of notarised certifications in New South Wales, however it is important that all such documents comply with the legal requirements of a notarial act and that there is no defect in the jurat. The essential characteristics of a notarial certificate include:
- The title, date and the place of execution;
- The name of the notary and the relevant other parties and/or witnesses;
- A statement that the parties are appearing before the notary;
- A statement concerning the purpose of the notarial certificate and the reasons why the parties have appeared before the notary;
- Any documents that the notarial certificate pertains (e.g. where the notarial certificate acts as a certification that a copy of a document is true and correct, a copy of that document);
- A statement that the notarial document has been read by the relevant parties and approved by them;
- The signature of the parties (b. there must be no doubt as to the identity of any party);
- The signature of the witness (b. there must be no doubt as to the identity of any witness);
- The signature of the notary public (b. the words “before me” should always appear in every certificate, and there should be a narration as to the notary’s appointment and authorisation to act as a notary);
- The seal of the notary public;
- The date of the notarial certificate, which is written in full (e. not digitised);
- The place where the notarial certificate has been executed.
The manner in which the above information may appear on the notarial certification may differ from one circumstance to another, depending on the particulars of each case. For example, it may not be essential or fundamental for a client to be identified personally or to appear before the notary when retaining his services, where the services require that the notarial act is in rem such as a certification concerning the authenticity of true copy of a document. Nevertheless, the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries as well as the Society of Notaries of New South Wales have both cautioned notaries in relation to notarising documents that may be used for an improper, nefarious purpose or which may otherwise traduce the dignity of the legal office (see further: ANZCN Practice Note – Fraudulent Notarial Acts and Certificates).