Skip to content

Catherine Schettini

- 3 Nov 2021
  • General

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a legal practitioner that has been appointed by the Supreme Court to undertake legal functions that can be applied for international purposes.

In particular a Notary Public can assist in the following:

  • Administering oaths and taking declarations for use in overseas court matters;
  • Certifying documents to be filed in a foreign court or to be registered in a foreign country;
  • Certifying and authenticating academic and trade qualifications;
  • Taking affidavits for use internationally;
  • Protesting or noting protests of bills of exchange or bills of lading; or
  • Witnessing Powers of Attorney for use in overseas jurisdictions.

The above matters cannot be addressed by lawyers who are not Notaries or by a Justice of the Peace.


Documents in a foreign language

In most cases, if a document is in a language other than English, the Notary Public will need to arrange for the document to be translated by a NAATI accredited translator before it can be notarized.


How is a document notarised?

The manner and form of notarising a document depends on the country in which the document is needed.

If a document is destined for a country that is a party to the The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents of 1961 (“the Hague Convention”), then an Apostille must be affixed to document by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) after a Notary Public has certified the same.

By affixing an Apostille DFAT is certifying that:

  • The Notary Public’s signature and seal are genuine; and
  • The person who signed the document is indeed a Notary Public.

If a document is to be sent to a country that is not a party to the Hague Convention, then it must be authenticated by DFAT after being certified by a Notary Public.  It must then be sent to the consulate or embassy of the relevant country for their approval in a process called legalisation.


How can DBH help?

DBH has a qualified Notary Public that can assist you from start to finish in having your documents notarised, including arranging for any relevant translations and arranging for any endorsements required by DFAT or the relevant consulate or embassy.