A notary’s main functions are to administer oaths and affirmations, take affidavits and statutory declarations, witness and authenticate the execution of certain classes of documents in addition to the list opposite. One of the most frequent notarial functions is the attestation or authentication of powers of attorney for use abroad.
Many foreign legal systems require powers of attorney and commissions to be executed before a notary. A notary may also be called upon to certify the proper execution or signing of any sort of document that is to be used overseas and, if required, to confirm that is binding in English law.
After identifying the person or persons concerned and the substance of any fact or event he may issue a certificate confirming such facts or event. Any such act is known as a notarisation. The administration of oaths has always been an important function of the notary. All notaries are commissioners for oaths.
Notarial practice is a separate and distinct element of legal service in England and Wales. It cannot be provided by solicitors. Most often it concerns the attestation, authentication or verification of documents, facts or events in circumstances which involve a foreign legal element. The form of certificate, authentication or other document or instrument prepared by a Notary is known as his ‘notarial act’, and may be, according to its nature and effect, either a public act or a private act.
The presence of the Notary’s signature, often in combination with his unique official seal, will render the document in question, or the facts or circumstances attested by him therein as acceptable proof for the purposes of the judicial or other public authorities in the foreign country in which they are to be used.