What is the role & function of a Notary Public

A Notary Public also referred to as a ‘Public Notary’ or simply as a ‘Notary’ is a member of the oldest branch of legal profession in England & Wales – & can be defined to be a qualified specialist lawyer who is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters.

A Notary’s function is to act as a co-ordinator between the English legal system and other foreign systems of law so that your documents can be used in a foreign country.

A Notary’s role is to verify or authenticate legal documents for use abroad. A Notary has to check the identity, capacity & authority of the person signing the document. If the Notary is satisfied after carrying out his obligations, the Notary will issue a notarial seal of office to the document, or where appropriate a notarial certificate. The form of notarial seal of office is exclusive & personal to each individual notary.

The Notary’s primary duty is to the document itself & to the individual presenting it, unlike Solicitors & Barristers in the UK whose duties are to the clients. Notarial Acts therefore require high standard of care as this is relied upon by third parties such as foreign government officials. A Notary may satisfy his obligations where appropriate by drafting documents and/or witnessing the execution of the documents; authenticate the contents of the document; by administering oaths and declarations.