What is a Notary?
Notaries Society

What is a Notary?

A Notary Public is a legal officer of ancient standing. The functions of notaries include the preparation and execution of legal documents for use abroad, attesting the authenticity of deeds and writings and protesting bills of exchange. The admission and regulation of notaries in England and Wales is one of the functions of the Faculty Office. The jurisdiction was confirmed and enhanced by the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990. That Act gave the Master statutory powers to make rules for the regulation of the profession.

All notaries public are admitted to the roll of notaries by the Faculty Office. In the past a notary practising within three miles of the City of London had to be a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Scriveners, one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London. Section 53 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 removed this requirement from 1st November 1999 so that all general notaries are able to practise anywhere in England and Wales.

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