What is a Notary?
In order for a document to be accepted overseas, it usually must first be legalised or formally proved valid and genuine. Most countries require documents to be witnessed or for original documents to be certified by a Public Notary (also known as ‘Notary Public’ or ‘Notary’) before those documents can be used overseas.
In Australia, Notaries are senior legal practitioners who are qualified to authenticate, prepare, attest, verify, witness and certify original and copy legal documents for use in Australia and overseas.
Notaries are appointed by the Supreme Court pursuant to the Public Notaries Act 1997 (NSW) and the Public Notaries Appointment Rules 1998.
A Notary has been likened to “an International Justice of the Peace” because, almost exclusively, the work of a Notary involves documentation required by a client for use overseas.
Legalisation of the Notary’s signature
In many instances the document(s) to be sent overseas may require the signature and seal of the Notary to be legalised (certified as correct) by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Once DFAT has issued its certificate and endorsed or attached it to the Notary’s document, the document may have to be certified at the Consulate or Embassy of the foreign country to which it is to be sent.
Many countries, including Australia, are signatories to a Convention that overcomes the double requirement of legalisation and then certification by the Consulate. Member countries issue an “Apostille” which cuts time and expense for the client. The Apostille is a statement identifying the signature of the Notary and comprises a large stamp affixed to the Notary’s signed document. Under The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents of 1961, the Australian authorised affixer of the Apostille is DFAT.
At Torres Lawyers, we assist clients with documents to be sent all over the world. Our Notary Public, Luana Torres, appears on the official register maintained by DFAT and various foreign Consulates and Embassies recommend her notarial services. She is also a member of The Society of Notaries of New South Wales Inc.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation.