Under the laws of New South wales, a notary public is a officer appointed for life who is also an experienced legal professional of at least five years standing. The notary public in Sydney has certain powers to administer oaths or affirmations, witness the execution of documents (by an individual or company), verify or authenticate documents, items or the identity of people. The documents that are thus notarised are to be used for some international purpose, otherwise the notary must offer his services in his capacity as a legal practitioner.
A notarial certificate or notarial act is complete if and when the “jurat” is applied correctly along with the notary’s signature and seal. However, depending on whether the country to which the notarised document is to be sent is a member of the Hague Convention, that document will require the application of either:
- The Apostille, which is provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and only in cases where the destination country is a signature to the Convention; or
- The process of authentication or legalisation, which is provided by the proper officer of the foreign mission of the destination country in Australia. This is only required if that destination country is not a signatory to the Convention.
Ordinarily, the notary public in Sydney will be required to do the following things before and while providing his services:
- Ensures that his client’s identity is what the client purports it to be by inspecting identification documents such as a driver’s licence, passport or other photo ID;
- If and when a person is acting on behalf of another entity, such as a company, the notary public is to ensure that that person is duly authorised to do so;
- Determines that the person who is asking for notarial services doe snot have legal incapacity;
- Satisfies himself that the client fully understands the nature of the notarial document and its effect;
- Is careful not to notarise documents that may be used for an improper purpose.
Some of the functions that a notary public can discharge include:
- Administers oaths or affirmations;
- Witnesses affidavits or declarations;
- Attests documents for use overseas;
- Certifies that documents have been duly and correctly executed, such as contracts, agreements, deeds etc.;
- Prepares certificates for international wills;
- Verifies the truth of documents and things;
- Authenticates the veracity of documents or things;
- Certifies, for overseas used, that documents are true copies of their originals.
Form more information on the notarial profession in Sydney and how one can seek notarial services, see the following sections:
- Services Offered;
- Examples of Notarisations and Certificates;
- Public and Private Form;
- Apostille and Legalisation;
- Foreign Language Documents;