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Welcome to the Society Website

The Notaries Society is the representative society for the 850 or so Notaries Public practising in England and Wales. From this page you will find various topics of interest to members of the profession and the public alike.

Welcome to the Society Website
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What is a notary?

A Notary is a qualified lawyer - a member of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in the United Kingdom. Notaries are appointed by the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury and are subject to regulation by the Master of the Faculties. The rules which affect Notaries are very similar to the rules which affect Solicitors. They must be fully insured and maintain fidelity cover for the protection of their clients and the public. They must keep clients' money separately from their own and comply with stringent practice rules and rules relating to conduct and discipline. Notaries have to renew their practising certificates every year and can only do so if they have complied with the rules.

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What do Notaries do?

Documents which require a notary are many and include:

Prepare and authenticate powers of attorney for use overseas

Deal with purchase or sale of land and property abroad

Authenticate documents for immigration or emigration purposes, or to apply to marry or to work abroad, including authentication of professional and educational qualifications and preparation of capacity to marry via statutory declaration or oath

Authenticate company and business documents and transactions for foreign contracts or the formation of foreign subsidiary companies

Deal with documents relating to foreign wills and estate administration

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The Notarial Profession

Notaries represent the oldest and smallest branch of the legal profession in England & Wales. (Notaries in Scotland are regulated separately like the other Scottish legal professions). Some legal work is reserved to the various legal professions. The Legal Services Act 2007 lists these as:

  • the exercise of a right of audience (in Courts)
  • the conduct of litigation
  • reserved instrument activities (the legal side of conveyancing)
  • probate activities
  • notarial activities
  • the administration of oaths
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How to become a Notary

Qualification as a notary is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury under the direction of the Master of the Faculties. Details of the Faculty Office and all the Rules governing the qualification and admission of notaries can be found at their website www.facultyoffice.org.uk. The main regulations are contained in the Notaries (Qualification) Rules 2013.

The Notaries Society does not govern the rules nor control the entry of notaries to the profession. It is pleased to advise generally. All specific queries concerning qualification or entry to the Notarial Practice Course must be made directly to the Faculty Office.

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