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Notary Public

Notary Public

A Notary Public is a crucial figure in the legal landscape, serving a distinctive role that differs significantly from that of lawyers.  Notaries play a vital role in facilitating legal transactions, ensuring document authenticity, and contributing to the overall integrity of legal processes.  

Notarial Work

Notarial work encompasses a vital aspect of legal practice that involves the authentication and certification of documents, transactions, and signatures by a notary public. Notaries public play a crucial role in ensuring the integrity and legality of various legal instruments, both domestically and internationally.

One primary function of notarial work is the verification of signatures on documents. Notaries confirm the identity of signatories and witness the signing of important legal papers, attesting that the individuals involved have willingly and knowingly executed the documents. This process adds a layer of credibility and authenticity to legal instruments.

Additionally, notaries public often administer oaths and affirmations, affirming the truthfulness of statements made in legal documents or during legal proceedings. This service is particularly crucial in affidavits, depositions, and sworn statements, where the veracity of information is of utmost importance.

Notarial work extends to the certification of copies of original documents. Notaries can authenticate the accuracy of reproduced documents, making them legally recognized equivalents to the original. This certification is often required for various purposes, including immigration applications, academic qualifications, and legal proceedings.

Furthermore, notaries play a key role in the preparation and execution of notarial acts for international transactions. This includes the authentication of documents for use in foreign jurisdictions, such as powers of attorney, contracts, and deeds. The notarial seal and signature lend official recognition to these documents, facilitating their acceptance abroad.

In the realm of real estate, notarial work is integral to property transactions. Notaries may be involved in the notarization of property deeds, mortgage documents, and other legal instruments related to real property. The notary’s certification provides an added layer of assurance regarding the legitimacy of the documents involved in these transactions.

In essence, notarial work acts as a safeguard against fraud, misrepresentation, and unauthorized alterations in legal documents. It upholds the principles of transparency and trust in legal transactions, contributing to the overall reliability of legal instruments both within national borders and across international boundaries.


The office of a notary public had its origin in the ancient Rome. In 1279 notary public was introduced into England, the Archbishop of Canterbury was authorized by the Pope Nicholas III to appoint notaries in England. The Public Notaries Act 1801 empowered the Court of Facilities of the Archbishop of Canterbury to admit notaries to the profession. The Legal Services Act 2007 preserves the jurisdiction of the Court of Faculties to admit and enroll notaries in England and Wales. The Master of the Faculties acts as an approved regulator regarding to the notarial activities.

In accordance with the Halsbury’s Law of England, 5th ed, (London LexisNexis 2009) Vol 66, para 1412, , the meaning of a notary public is “a legal officer appointed by the Court of Faculties, whose general role, amongst other matters, to draw, attest or certify, under an official seal, documents which are intended for use in other jurisdiction. A notary may also prepare wills or other testamentary documents, note or certify transaction relating to negotiable instruments and draw up protests or other formal papers relating to shipping and the cargo conveyed therein. The office further confers the right to administer oaths and declarations.”


The name of “public notary” and “notary public” are used interchangeable in the Court of Faculties. Notary Public in the State of Queensland Australia is appointed by the Court of Faculties in England.

There is no law, statutory or otherwise prescribing the formal parts of a notarial act, it has been said in Brooke, A Treatise on the Office and Practice of a Notary in England, 9th ed (1939) p46 that the essential parts of a notarial acts in public form are:

“first, the title, the date and place of execution, the names of the notary, parties and witnesses, and a statement of the fact of the parties appearing before the notary and of their reason for doing so; second, the document or transaction which is the subject of the act; third, a statement to the effect that the instrument was read to the parties and approved by them; fourth, the signatures of the parties and witnesses; and, fifth, the signature and seal of the notary himself.


The Legislation was passed in 2005 and commenced on 1 March 2006. The third amendment was passed on 1 September 2017.

In accordance with article 2 of the Legislation, notarization means certifying the authenticity and legality of a legal act, a document or a fact of legal significance according to the statutory procedures.

Unlike in Australia, a notary in China upon request, may perform a board range of notarial acts. Article 11 provides that a notary in China may perform the following notarial acts:

  1. contract;
  2. inheritance;
  3. authorization, declaration, bestowal, will;
  4. distribution of property;
  5. bidding and tendering, auction;
  6. marriage status, kindred relationship, adoption relationship;
  7. birth, existence, death, identity, experience, education background, degree, job title, professional technical title, having or not having illegal and criminal record;
  8. articles of association;
  9. preservation of evidence;
  10. signature, seal and date as indicated in a document, duplicate or photocopy of a document conforming with the original document; and
  11. other matters that a natural person, legal person or any other organisation voluntarily requests for notarization.

Article 28 of the legislation provides a notary when performing notarial acts, must examine the following:

  1. the identity of the party concerned, the qualifications for requesting for the notarial act and the corresponding rights;
  2. whether the documents are complete, whether the meanings are clear and whether the signature and seal are complete;
  3. whether the certification materials are authentic, lawful and adequate; and
  4. whether the matter under request for notarization are genuine and lawful.


In Malaysia, a Notary Public is appointed by the Attorney General of Malaysia under the Notaries Public Act 1959 (Act 115) for a tenure of two years, and to practise within a particular designated territory.

The functions of the Notary Public includes:

    1. To draw or prepare any instrument relating to any real or personal estate, or any legal proceeding;
    2. To draw or prepare any instrument of transfer or charge relating to Real Property;
    3. Take instructions or draw or prepare any papers on which to found or oppose a grant of probate or of letters of administration;
    4. Take the declaration of an attesting witness to prove the execution of any will or codicil, deed, or instrument in writing;
    5. Preparation of “ship’s protest” and protests concerning demurrage and other commercial documents.

(b) Authenticate a Power of Attorney (Section 3 of the Powers of Attorney Act 1949( (Act 424))

(c) Take and receive Statutory Declaration for use outside of Malaysia (Section 2 of the Statutory Declaration Act 1960 (Act 783), read together with and subject to Section 4 of the Notaries Public Act)

(d) Notarization of Public Document (with the intention of pursuing the Apostille Procedure, i.e. issue by the Department of Foreign Affairs of certain countries of Apostille Certificate (stamped or attached to the Public document)), in lieu of Legislation (in accordance with and for countries which have ratified the Hague Convention – Malaysia is not a party to the treaty and therefore cannot pursue apostille procedures, and have to resort to a more complicated legislation procedure)

(e) Notarization of Document (with the intention of and as part of the process of pursuing Legalization Procedure) (for countries like Malaysia not adhering nor having ratified the Hague Convention)


Notaries in Singapore are by appointment for a period not exceeding 12 months.  A notary public must be a practicing advocate and solicitor for not less than 7 years before appointed.

The powers and functions of a notary public are ordinarily exercised by notary public in England.

A notary public may

  1.   Notarisation of documents;
  2.   Attesting signing or executing of documents;
  3.   Administer any oath or affirmation;
  4.   Certifying true copy;
  5.   Protesting bills of exchange; and
  6.   Entering a ship’s protest.


The Notary Act was commenced on 23 November 2009.

Notaries in Taiwan either serve in court or in their own offices.  All district courts and their branches have notary division.

Article 2 of the Act provides that Notaries have the authority to notarize juristic acts and facts related to private rights.  They also have the authority to attest private documents:

  1.  official documents in their original form that involve facts related to private rights and where the applicants indicate the documents will be used overseas; and
  2. the transcriptions or photocopies of official or private documents.


The Notaries Act 1952 came into force on 14 February 1956.

Notaries is appointed by the Central Government.

Section 8 of the Act provides that a notary may

  1.  verify, authenticate, certify or attest the execution of any instrument;
  2. present any promissory note, hundi or bill of exchange for acceptance or
    payment or demand better security;
  3. note or protest the dishonour by non-acceptance or non-payment of any
    promissory note, hundi or bill of exchange or protest for better security or
    prepare acts of honour under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881
    (XXVI of 1881), or serve notice of such note or protest;
  4. note and draw up ship’s protest, boat’s protest or protest relating to
    demurrage and other commercial matters;
  5. administer oath to, or take affidavit from, any person;
  6. prepare bottomry and respondentia bonds, charter parties and other
    mercantile documents;
  7. prepare, attest or authenticate any instrument intended to take effect in
    any country or place outside India in such form and language as may
    conform to the law of the place where such deed is entitled to operate;
  8. translate, and verify the translation of, any document, from one language
    into another;
  9. any other act which may be prescribed.

The Act empowers a notary to as a Commissioner to record evidence in any civil or criminal trial if
so directed by any court or authority or act as an arbitrator, mediator or conciliator, if so required (refer to ss8(ha) and ss8(hb) of the Act)