A Notary Public practicing in the State of New South Wales will ordinarily be involved in the authentication or execution documents which are to be used in a foreign jurisdiction, i.e. outside Australia. An example might be a statement or affidavit to be used before a foreign court, tribunal or administrative body, or witnessing some other legal document signed in New South Wales but which has to be presented before an overseas authority.
Another example may be the authentication that a copy of a document is a true and correct copy of its original. A notary may be involved in these situations where his client needs to show or prove to a foreign authority the existence of some valuable document of intrinsic value, but does not want to part with the original itself. A notarisation of a copy will be considered as good as the original for evidentiary purposes.
A Public Notary might also witness the signing of some transaction that may have an international aspect, such as a contract or agreement between a local party and a party that is situated outside of Australia. Often, documents that require a party’s signature or seal may accommodate that signature or seal in a special “execution page” or “execution section” along with a space for the notary to insert his signature and apply his notarial seal.
However, in some cases this accommodation may not be made, and therefore a notarisation may have to be effected by way of a separate notarial certificate. This certificate will take the form of a separate page which the notary drafts and attaches to the principle document by way of a ribbon the ends of which are placed under the notarial seal before it is embossed with the notary’s seal.
Because such documents either will or may likely be used overseas, their notarisation will ensure that they are considered probative in that foreign jurisdiction. Notaries may be engaged for other purposes as well, but these will all have some international purpose or flavour. For a general list of other notarial acts and certificates that might be encountered in the course of a notary’s practice, see our Services Offered and Examples of Notarial Certificates sections.
The Notary Public is also required to keep a register of all notarial acts and notarial certificates that are produced in the course of his practice. The register may be audited by the relevant authorities so as to ensure the highest standards of practice in the industry. The existence of the register may also guard against fraud, where a question concerning the legitimacy of a notarial act may arise. The questionable notarisation can be compared with the register to ascertain whether or not it was genuinely drafted by the notary or whether it is a forgery.