The term “legalisation” is used to denote a process by which the authenticity of a notarised document is verified and established in the eyes of an authority that is situated in the jurisdiction in which that notarized document is to be ultimately used. Such an authority would customarily or ordinarily be the foreign mission of the overseas jursidiction in which the notarial act would be sent.

The Hague Convention for the authenticating of documents to be used in foreign countries (5 October 1961) established a new system whereby signatories would only require foreign notarised documents to have an apostille applied to them. This made the process of establishing the veracity of a notarised act or certificate more efficient as it circumvented the need for documents to go through the complicated process of legalisation. Some countries however have not entered into the Convention and the old system still applies to the authentification of a notarial certificate to be used among their institutions. Thus, according to the official Notarial Practice Course for New South Wales:

Where a document is to be used in a foreign country that is not a Convention country, the Consul or consular Agent should be consulted as to the requirements of the particular country (see Brook’s Notary under the heading ‘Execution and Poof of Documents for Use Outside the United Kingdom’). Normally the Consul or his representative will, usually for a fee, affix or endorse a certificate to the document certifying the signatures of the Notary and the representative of DFAT.
– College of Law, “Continuing Professional Development: Seminar Papers: Notarial Practice” #CN130703_NOT1, 30 July 2013, at p. 15.

If necessary, legalisation can be obtained by the following authorities:

  • By the Consul, Consular representative, or other Official of the foreign mission of the country in which the notarised document is to be used (such as an embassy, consulate or in some cases trade or other delegation);
  • In the event that no foreign mission of the state in which the notarized document is to be used exists (i.e. where the country has no diplomatic relations with Australia) then the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • By the Australian Passport Office;
  • By the Secretary of the Society of Notaries of New South Wales Inc.; or
  • By whatever other legitimate and lawful authority that the country in which the notarial act is to be used so requires.

The process of legalising a notarial certificate will ordinarily attract a fee, and this fee will be set by the relevant authority, as is the case with fees associated with the authentication of notarisations (see further regarding Apostilles). Therefore, costs associated with legalisation will naturally be passed on to the notary’s client. For more information about how a Sydney Notary Public can assist an individual person or a business’s needs, see our section on Services Offered. In some circumstances, a mobile Public Notary in Sydney may be able to visit the client’s office or place of business, particularly where the client’s location is in a major metropolitan region such as the Sydney CBD, Chatswood, Parramatta or other regions. For more information see Availability or contact us for a quote.

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