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Public Notary

Public Notary

What is a Public Notary? by Dan Qing Yu

A public notary is an officer whose job is to attest, witness and certify deeds, affidavits, statutory declarations, wills, contracts and other documents.

In WA public notaries are divided into 2 categories – general public notaries and district public notaries. General notaries work in the suburbs/districts of Perth or Fremantle while district notaries work in their respective districts.

History of Public Notaries
Notaries Public (also called “notaries” or “public notaries”) hold an ancient office which can trace its origins back to the Roman Empire, when they were called “notarius” or “tabellio”. They are easily the oldest continuing branch of the legal profession and are known all over the world from England to the rest of the European Community, USA, Chile, Russia, Japan, China and of course Australia.

They first appeared in the English legal system sometime prior to 1279 when the Pope authorised the Archbishop of Canterbury to appoint notaries.

What makes them different from others who prepare or witness documents is that their acts will be recognised and accepted by foreign courts and authorities, whereas acts performed by non-notaries will generally be ignored. That is a notary’s seal is valid while a mere justice of the peace will not in foreign countries.

Wax seals with individualized engravings or symbols were used as signatures at the end of written agreements. In later centuries, ribbons were woven into holes placed in the margin of multiple page documents to tie the pages together. Wax seals were placed over the knots to ensure no pages were added nor removed. This was the birth of the notary seal and certificate. Today a mere signature is enough.

A public notary in Western Australia is governed by the Public Notaries Act 1979 (WA). Appointments are made by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia.

Functions of a Public Notary
As described above the public notary attests and prepares legal documents, they can also attest and prepare foreign documents and translate them into English and vice versa.

The public notary attests his work through his signature or official seal.

Public Notaries can charge a fee for their services and generally this amount to their hourly rate.

Basically, the most important reason for notarizing anything is to protect against fraud. The notarization is effective, valid and binding as long as the document it appears upon remains effective and valid.

Appointments should be made to see Mr Raymond Tan if there is any need for him to notarise documents on the reader’s behalf.

On the lighter side

A huge difference in my client’s defense

The day after a verdict had been entered against his client, the lawyer rushed to the judge’s chambers, demanding that the case be reopened, saying: “I have new evidence that makes a huge difference in my client’s defense.”

The judge asked, “What new evidence could you have?”

The lawyer replied, “My client has an extra $10,000, and I just found out about it!”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A university committee was selecting a new dean. They had narrowed the candidates down to a mathematician, an economist and a lawyer.

Each was asked this question during their interview: “How much is two plus two?”

The mathematician answered immediately, “Four.”

The economist thought for several minutes and finally answered, “Four, plus or minus one.”

Finally the lawyer stood up, peered around the room and motioned silently for the committee members to gather close to him. In a hushed, conspiratorial tone, he replied, “How much do you want it to be?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Two smart, attractive, well-educated young law graduates, Sally and Edith, were competing for a prestigious job. As part of the job interview each was asked why she wanted the job. Edith answered that she wanted to work for a firm with a reputation of being concerned with truth and justice. When it was her turn, Sally simply opened her purse, took out a rather thin wallet and laid it on the senior partner’s desk. “I want to fatten it up as fast as possible,” she said.

Sally got the job.