Notaries Public Gobbledygook Buster

You may need a Notary Public

If you need to have formal documents legally validated or a copy of a document certified.

This Gobbledygook Buster explains

Who appoints Notaries Public?

The Council of the Law Society of Scotland is responsible for for the admission and registration of notaries under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990. A petition for admission as a solicitor can include an application for admission as a notary public and, in practice, usually does.

A Sworn Affidavit is equivalent to giving evidence in court. One of the traditional functions of the Notary Public in Scotland which remains today is where the legal validity of a document requires the administration of an Oath or the receipt of an Affidavit or solemn declaration.

A  common use of affidavits is in Undefended Divorces and replaces the need to hear oral evidence in court of formal evidence where the divorce is not opposed. This includes cases where there are children under 16 and the court needs information about the arrangements for the children.

Another use would be Affidavits under the Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 and the Title Conditions (Scotland) Act 2003 – Under these Acts there are various transitional provisions which require notices sworn before a Notary, including those relating to conversion and preservation of real burdens.

Many documents for use in foreign jurisdictions require execution or certification before a Notary. Notaries are frequently consulted by clients requiring documents authenticated in such matters as the winding up of estates or in Court actions abroad. Powers of Attorney for use abroad often require to be executed before a Notary to constitute their validity.

Often where a legal document has been notarised for use abroad an ‘Apostille’ or ‘legalisation’ will be required. This is where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirm that the signature, stamp or seal is from a UK public official such as a Notary Public.The Legalisation Office will check the signature, stamp or seal is genuine and legalise the document by attaching a stamped official certificate (the ‘apostille’) to it.

‘Documents create a paper reality we call proof.”Mason Cooley
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