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Most people will need to get essential documents notarised from time to time. But what does this entail, and why is it important? This article sets out a simple guide to getting a document notarised in Australia.

A notarised document is a document that has been certified by a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a Notary Public. Indeed, this official will verify the person’s identity or persons signing a document, witness them signing, and then mark the document with a stamp or seal. As such, each Notary Public has an official Notarial Seal, which they use to complete the notarisation of documents. However, you will often be required to pay a fee in exchange for getting your document notarised. This will vary depending on where you go but generally isn’t more than $20. 

A notary ensures a document is signed legitimately. A notary will not review, advise or help negotiate the terms of a document. You should make sure that you are comfortable with the document’s contents and seek any advice required before signing. 

How Do I Get a Document Notarised?

First, you should contact a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a Notary Public and discuss what you need. Once the JP or Notary Public has confirmed that they can assist, book an appointment with them in person. The JP or Notary Public should set out what you need to bring to your appointment, including the request for the notarial act or instructions, your identification and any translations if your document is not in English.

At your appointment, the JP or Notary Public will confirm your documents and check your identification. A Notary Public must ensure a signatory isn’t suffering from any legal incapacity, such as a physical or mental illness. The notary must also ensure the signatory understands the contents of the relevant document. If all is in order, they will create a notarial certificate or witness the documents, as required. They will sign and seal the notarial certificate with their official seal.

Where Do I Start?

What To Do

What Not To Do

Firstly, find a notary and schedule an appointment

Forget to take some identification when you visit the notary – they will not be able to notarise your document until they can verify your identity

Gather the document or documents that you need to get notarised – you should take paper copies with you

Sign your document before you see the notary – you must sign in their presence

Attend the notary appointment yourself – you cannot ask someone to go on your behalf as the notary needs to verify the identity of the person signing

Send someone to notarise your document for you – you must attend in person for the notary to verify your identity

Bring original copies of official identification that proves your identity, for example, your passport, driving licence or another government-issued document

Forget to pay the notary

Sign the document in front of the notary (not before)

Leave it to the last minute!

Have the notary stamp the document

 

Pay any fees

 

Common examples of documents that you may need to notarise include:

  • documents needed for an international transaction, for example, if you export products overseas;
  • a power of attorney;
  • bank statements; or
  • identity documents.

Can You Notarise a Document Electronically?

Currently, it is not possible to notarise a document digitally in Australia. Instead, documents must be in a physical form, for example, in paper form.

What Happens if I Have Already Signed a Document That Needs to Be Witnessed?

Preferably, you should not sign a document that needs before seeing a notary in order for them to witness your signature. However, if you have already signed a document that you need to be notarised, your document can still be notarised. However, you must sign again in front of the JP or Notary Public. 

Who Can Notarise a Document?

If you need to get a document notarised, a JP and a Notary Public can certify people’s identities on documents and authenticate true copies of original documents. Whilst JPs and Notary Publics carry out similar roles, there are some key differences between the two. The main difference between a JP and a Notary Public is that a JP can only provide assistance in Australia. A Notary Public, on the other hand, is recognised in both Australia and overseas. See this article for further explanation of the differences between the main functions that each role performs. 

Contact a Justice of the Peace if you need assistance with:

  • witnessing an oath or affidavit;
  • taking  a statutory declaration or affirmation;
  • witnessing a signature; or
  • certifying a true copy of an original document.

How Do I Find a Notary Public or JP?

Each State or Territory has public notary registers which include notaries available to witness documents. See the relevant listing below:

Key Takeaways

A notarised document is one that has been attested and certified by a Notary Public for use in Australia and overseas. If you need to get a document notarised, schedule an appointment with a Notary Public in your state and ensure you take along the relevant document and identification to your appointment. Do not sign the document before seeing the Notary Public, and you have the Notary Public stamp or seal document as required.

If you need advice on a contract or legal document that is for Australian or international use, call LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a notarised document?

A notarised document is a document that has been certified by a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a Notary Public. Indeed, this official will verify the person’s identity or persons signing a document, witness them signing, and then mark the document with a stamp or seal.

Who can notarise a document?

A Justice of the Peace (JP) and a Notary Public can certify people’s identities on documents and authenticate true copies of original documents. Whilst JPs and Notary Publics carry out similar roles, there are some key differences between the two. A JP can only provide assistance in Australia. Whereas, a Notary Public is recognised in both Australia and overseas. 

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