What is a Notary Public?
Notaries in England hold Public Office and are the oldest of the legal professions.
As well as being lawyers, Notaries must possess a Diploma in Notarial Practice and have satisfied the Faculty Office of The Archbishop of Canterbury that they are fit and proper persons to be awarded a faculty to practise.
What services does a Notary provide?
It is the impartiality of the Notary and the process of authentication which is carried out by the Notary as certified by the Notary’s signature and seal which enables worldwide recognition.
Where appropriate the Notary ensures the requirements of English law are observed in the execution of documents, in addition to the formalities stipulated to the Notary by the foreign country to which the document is to be sent.
The integrity and impartiality of the Office of Notary are specifically recognised under the English Supreme Court Rules which provide that a notarial act produced in court as evidence is automatically presumed to be the truth of the facts the Notary certifies, unless the contrary is proved otherwise.
Where does the office of Notary Public come from?
Notaries Public (also called “notaries”, “notarial officers”, or “public notaries”) hold an office which can trace its origins back to ancient Rome, when they were called scribae (“scribe”), tabellius (“writer”), or notarius (“notary”).
The history of Notaries is set out in detail in Chapter 1 of Brooke’s Notary (12th edition):
The office of a public notary is a public office. It has a long and distinguished history. The office has its origin in the civil institutions of ancient Rome. Public officials, called scribae, that is to say, scribes, rose in rank from being mere copiers and transcribers to a learned profession prominent in private and public affairs. Some were permanent officials attached to the Senate and courts of law whose duties were to record public proceedings