Skip to content

What is a Notary Public?

In the UK the legal profession is divided into three branches, with the Notary Public being the oldest branch.   In England and Wales Notaries are qualified lawyers who are appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and are subject to regulation by the Court of Faculties. 

The rules that affect Notaries are similar to those rules that affect solicitors.  Notaries must be insured for the protection of their clients and the public.  Notaries must keep clients’ money separate from their business and comply with stringent rules of practice, conduct and discipline. 

Notaries can be members of the Notaries Society and further information can be found on their website at

Alistair Robertson is a a member of the Notaries Society.

Legal textbooks and a pen

What is the role of a Notary Public?

The international duty of a Notary involves a high standard of care.  This is not only towards the client but also to anyone who may rely on the document and to governments or officials of other countries.  These people are entitled to assume that a Notary will ensure full compliance with the relevant requirements both here and abroad; and to rely on the Notary’s register and records.

Great care is essential at every stage to minimise the risks of errors, omissions, alterations, fraud, forgery, money laundering & the use of false identity.

Notarisation is the accepted safeguard under international law and the signature and seal of the Notary is recognised as a link in the chain of evidence relating to international documents.  It is therefore important that the Notary remains independent and the Notary’s duty is to the transaction.

open book with hands