When do I need a Notary Public?

If the documents are for use overseas then you will need to have your signature witnessed by a Notary Public. A Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner for Declarations cannot witness documents to be used outside of Australia.

Depending upon the country involved you may need either an Authentication (Countries who are not signatories to the Hague Apostille Convention) or an Apostille (Countries who are signatories to the Hague Apostille Convention) issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Some countries only require the notary to witness and seal the document, for example, New Zealand.

Don’t forget you need to bring identifying documents with you equal to 100 points (as required by banks etc), usually a passport and current driver’s licence will suffice.

If you have documents for use within Australia then a Notary can also witness those documents but will charge fees for services, unlike Justices of the Peace, who cannot charge fees. The reason is that Notaries in Queensland are senior lawyers who are the principals of their law firm and charge fees in the ordinary course of their business. A notarial act by a Notary Public is trusted and recognised in most countries around the world. It is an important position of trust.

This is general information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain specific legal advice regarding your specific circumstances. © Family Lawyers & Mediation Services. All rights reserved. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.