A notary public performs a very important function, namely authenticating personal and business documents for production overseas. This article will summarise some of the key functions performed by notaries public. It will also set out the differences between notaries public and justices of the peace.

Functions of notaries

Notaries in Australia perform a number of important functions. These include the following:

  • notarising documents for overseas production;
  • true certification of copy documents such as passports;
  • administering oaths for affidavits and statutory declarations;
  • preparing and certifying execution of documents such as powers of attorney, deeds, contracts and other legal documents;
  • preparing certificates of good standing for corporations;
  • prepare ship’s protests.

Difference between notaries public and justices of the peace

One of the key differences betwee a notary and a justice of the peace (JP) is that a JP cannot witness documents to be produced overseas, or certify copy documents for overseas production. Another key difference is that notaries must be practicing solicitors with significant experience. JP’s do not have to be lawyers and are volunteers from the community.

How can a notary public assist you

Notaries can assist you by performing the functions discussed earlier in this article. It is important that you come prepared to your appointment. You must bring your original passport and driver licence to your meeting, along with relevant documents. The notary will advise you of anything else you may have to do before sending the document overseas.

Some countries require the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to provide an apostille stamp in addition to a notary seal and stamp. Other countries require both a DFAT authentication and legalisation by the destination country’s consulate or embassy in Australia in addition to a notary stamp and seal. A notary public can assist you and advise you about the correct steps that need to be taken in that regard.

Once all steps are completed, the document is ready to be sent to its overseas destination.

Our notary public at Parkston Lawyers can assist you with all of your notarial requirements.