Notary Public Services

If you have been asked to have a document notarised but are unsure about what this involves, please contact our office so we can explain the process. We can help with the following:

  • Attestation of documents and certification of their due execution for use in Australia and internationally
  • Preparation and certification of powers of attorney, wills, deeds, contracts and other legal documents for use in Australia and internationally
  • Administering of oaths and witnessing affidavits, statutory declarations and other documents for use in Australia and internationally
  • Certification of copy documents for use in Australia and internationally
  • Exemplification of official documents for use internationally
  • Noting and protesting of bills of exchange
  • Preparation of ships’ protests
  • Providing certificates as to Australian law and legal practices

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a public officer, appointed through a State or Territory Supreme Court, with statutory power to witness documents, administer oaths, and perform a range of other administrative functions both of a national and international nature.

In New South Wales, to be appointed as a Notary Public, a person must:

  • hold a current Australian practising certificate;
  • have at least five years’ experience in the practice of law;
  • have completed the prescribed Notarial Practice Course;
  • apply through the Legal Profession Admission Board.

Notary Publics have their own official ‘seal’ or ‘stamp’ which is placed alongside or underneath the notary’s signature on the document that is being authorised, certified, or witnessed. The seals and signatures of all appointed notary publics are officially recorded onto a database held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). DFAT is authorised to issue Apostille or Authentication Certificates which certify that the signatures, seals or stamp of Public Notaries on Australian public documents are genuine.

When are notarial services required?

The services of a notary may be required for certain international commercial transactions, for example, notarising overseas trade documents, letters of credit, or contracts between foreign businesses. Notarial services may also be needed for international trademark, copyright, or patent matters.

You may also need certain personal documents notarised if you intend using them overseas or if the documents have issued from another country and you need to use them in Australia. For example, the certification of passports, academic transcripts and testamurs, citizenship certificates, overseas police checks and probate documents where overseas assets form part of an estate.

Although certain professionals in Australia (for example, lawyers and justices of the peace) can witness signatures and certify copies of documents, many documents required to be used overseas will only be accepted if they have been notarised.

Attending a Notary Public

Notaries must confirm the identity of any person for whom they provide services. If you have an appointment with a Notary Public, you will need to bring documents sufficient to prove your identity, for example, a current valid passport, birth certificate, driver’s licence and/or other documentation verifying your current address.

If a signatory is acting in an official capacity (such as a director of a registered company), the notary must be satisfied that the person has capacity to act in that manner. In such cases, the signatory may need to provide a power of attorney as well as personal identity documents.

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

When making your appointment, we will provide details of the identification and other documents required, and any other information necessary so we can provide the notary services you need.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 02 9661 6044 for expert legal advice.