Notary Standards

It has come to Council’s attention that some Notaries are letting the standard of our work slip.

In particular, we have seen and been told (by the Department of Internal Affairs Authentication Unit amongst others) of 2 main concerns:

Witnessing Documents

Some notaries have completed a document with just their signature and seal, no other information, or just the word “Witness”.

That is not sufficient for a proper Notarial act.  There must be some description of who you are and what you have done.  That does not need to be a book, but must make it clear what you have done.

Sometimes there is a sufficient Jurat or certificate on the form.  Otherwise, you must prepare one on the form or on an attached page.

See the traditional and plain English options/examples in Precedents tab in the members’ area of the website to use or adapt according to your document/act.

Multiple page documents

If the document you are witnessing or certifying is multiple pages you must take steps to ensure all the pages will remain part of/can be identified as part of the document.  This can be done by:

  1. Bind them with the traditional ribbon and seal.  See the instructional Videos tab in the members’ area of the website; or
  2. Mark every page.  You do that when taking an affidavit.  The same must be done for your Notary document.  This can be simply the applicant(s) and you sign, with your stamp and emboss (without a seal), on every page.

You otherwise expose yourself to a complaint or civil action if the document is later fraudulently altered.

If you do not maintain these standards you are (at the least) going to inconvenience the applicant if the documents are rejected by the Department of Internal Affairs Authentication Unit or the recipient.

Notaries have been sued for negligence where an applicant suffers a loss.  Don’t let that be you.