Public Notary

The preferred Public Notary in Sydney

At CM Lawyers, we provide a notarial service for clients in Sydney. In New South Wales, a public notary (otherwise known as a notary or notary public) is a public officer who is appointed for life by the New South Wales Supreme Court. They are given statutory powers to witness documents, administer oaths and perform a range of other administrative functions, both of a national and international nature. Our public notary has the statutory power to administer the following actions:

  • Verify documents for use in Australia and internationally
  • Certify copy documents for use in Australia and internationally
  • Attest documents and certify their due execution for use in Australia and internationally
  • Certify powers of attorney, wills, deeds, contracts and other legal documents for use in Australia and internationally
  • Administer oaths for Australian and international documents
  • Witness signatures to affidavits, statutory declarations, powers of attorney, contracts and other documents for use in Australia and internationally
  • Exemplify official documents for use internationally
  • Note and protest bills of exchange
  • Prepare ships’ protests

The process of notarising a document includes placing our seal, signature and identification details on the document. Our public notary’s signature and our seal is registered with the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the Society of Notaries of NSW. In addition to this, we can also provide you with the details of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) so that these documents can be apostilled. Apostilles are authentications that are provided by DFAT and used in certain countries – the full list of countries is listed on the Hague Conference on Private International Law website. If required, we can also provide you with the details of DFAT if you require their advice on the documents to be prepared. The public notary at CM Lawyers is the preferred notary for a number of foreign embassies in Sydney, so you know you’re in good hands when you utilise our notary service.

Differences between a Public Notary and a Justice of the Peace

A Justice of the Peace (JP) in Australia provides a service similar to that of an American notary but unlike a public notary, is not permitted to witness documents for use in foreign countries. A public notary is a public officer, whereas a JP is a volunteer of good character standing in their community, who has been appointed by the Governor-in-Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. The role of a JP is mainly focused on certifying a person’s identity, certifying true copies of original documents (such as a birth certificate) and witnessing affidavits and statutory declarations. A public notary does all of those tasks and so much more, with the addition of being authenticated by an apostille, which is recognised in Australia and many countries overseas. A public notary can assist you with:

  • Documents for personal use, such as passports, academic transcripts/testamurs and citizenship certificates
  • Overseas Police Checks
  • Contracts that relate to the sale of foreign property or businesses, or sales with an overseas vendor/purchaser
  • Wills and probate documents involving overseas estates and beneficiaries
  • Documents for international trademark or copyright, patent applications and infringements
  • Overseas trade documentation, e.g. a Letter of Credit (LC)
  • Company constitutions and accompanying documentation
  • Instruments affecting the transfer of land
  • Paperwork for the consent of a minor to travel overseas without their parents

Essentially you will need to make an appointment with a public notary (rather than a JP) when you need to have a document witnessed or authenticated for overseas use. However, you should check with the receiving entity in the overseas country where the document is to be produced/used.

The public notary at CM Lawyers is the preferred notary for a number of foreign embassies in Sydney.  In general, a straightforward document will require a 15 minute appointment with the notary. Then, the notary’s further involvement may necessitate another 10 minutes. If the document is not so straightforward, it will take longer.

Come prepared when you visit a public notary. Bring Identification, such as a current and valid passport or driver’s licence that can confirm your current address. If you have instructions received from overseas, bring them so that the notary and ensure that your requirements are met in the first visit. If possible, scan and send a copy of the document to be provided prior to your visit – this will save you time and allow the notary to give you a more detailed quote prior to your appointment. During your appointment, the public notary will need to be satisfied that you understand the nature of the document you are signing. If you do not understand, you may need further legal advice, which our public notary can obtain for you.

If you require a document to be witnessed or authenticated for overseas use, please contact us at CM Lawyers today to make an appointment for our public notary service.