A notary public is an officer of the law, responsible for certifying and attesting documents intended for use anywhere in the world. In Queensland, the notary office continues to be appointed by the Court of Faculties in England under the guidance of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The functions of a notary public have not been defined by statute or instrument. The foundation of their duties have essentially developed as a result of English case law and custom. In essence, notaries public are responsible for the following functions:
- To confirm, attest or authenticate the truth of any document for use in a foreign country.
- To draw up shipping protests and other formal papers relating to the voyage of ships, their navigation and the carriage of cargo.
- To certify transactions relating to negotiable instruments and to protest foreign bills of exchange when dishonoured.
- The translation of legal and commercial documents from foreign languages to English.
- The preparation of certain legal instruments (eg. power of attorney) intended for operation abroad.
Source: Society of Notaries Queensland