Notaries and notarisation

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Notaries and notarisation
  • Notaries
  • Notarisation
  • Legalisation

Notaries and notarisation

Notaries

A notary is a qualified lawyer whose primary concern is the authentication and certification of signatures and documents, either for use abroad or as copy documents. Notaries undertake the administration and taking of oaths and affirmations and may also carry out certain reserved activities under the Legal Services Act 2007, including commercial and property work, family and private client work (but excluding any contentious matter and conduct of court proceedings). Lawyers and non-lawyers applying to act as a notary must satisfy the qualification requirements as prescribed by Notaries (Qualification) Rules 2013.

The notary profession varies subject to the local legal system in which the notary operates. Within the UK, a notary is appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury subject to regulation by the Court of Faculties. The rules governing notaries are similar to those rules governing solicitors and cover best practice, conduct and discipline. A notary is also subject to the laws governing the prevention of money laundering. Notaries are independent officers who must not do anything to compromise that independence nor act in any matter in which they have a personal interest. Notaries must renew their practising certificate on an annual basis, maintain insurance to protect their own clients and the public, and must keep clients’ money separate from their own. Practising certificates for notaries are issued by the Office of the

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