Public Notary

We provide the following public notary services:

  • Authenticating government and personal documents for use overseas
  • Witnessing signatures to documents and authenticating identity
  • Witnessing Powers of Attorney for use overseas
  • Certifying true copies of documents for use overseas
  • Dealing with documentation for land, property, and deceased estates overseas

What is a public notary?

A public notary (notary public or notary) is a public officer authorised through legislation to provide a range of national and international official services in relation to the witnessing and certification of legal documents.

Unlike a Justice of the Peace, who may only certify and witness documents in Australia, a public notary is authorised to authenticate foreign and overseas documents.

Who may become a public notary?

Australian notaries are senior practising solicitors appointed through a relevant State or Territory Supreme Court. Upon appointment, all public notaries are issued with an official ‘seal’ or ‘stamp’ which is registered along with his or her signature and stored in a database held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The seal/stamp and signature are recognised in Australian and International Courts.

The seal or stamp is placed alongside or underneath a notary’s signature when carrying out his or her notarial duties.

When might I need the services of a public notary?

The services of a notary may be required for a range of commercial transactions such as overseas trade documents (letters of credit), contractual arrangements between foreign businesses (transfers of foreign assets, property, and land) and matters concerning international trademarks, copyright, or patent applications.

You may need to have documents notarised if they are to be used overseas or issued from another country. Personal notary services include the certification of passports, academic transcripts and testamurs; citizenship certificates and consent to travel documents; probate documents where overseas assets form part of an estate; and overseas police checks.

Attending a public notary

When performing their duties, notaries must confirm the identity of the person signing a document or swearing an oath. When making your appointment, we will let you know the identification and other documents required so we can provide the notary services you need.

If the signatory is acting in an official capacity (such as a director of a registered company or an attorney), the notary must be satisfied that the person has capacity to act in that manner.

Some documents that are not in English may need to be translated before they can be processed by a notary.

A notary must make an informed decision that the signatory has sufficient mental capacity and understands the nature and effect of the document being signed and/or attested. A public notary is obliged to refuse to carry out services for an unlawful act or where the document in question is fraudulent.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call (02) 6058 0000 for expert legal advice.