WHEN MIGHT I NEED A NOTARY PUBLIC, AND WHY?

WHEN MIGHT I NEED A NOTARY PUBLIC, AND WHY?

A Notary Public in South Africa is an admitted attorney who has successfully passed the Notary Public examination and has been admitted in the relevant High Court to practice as a Notary Public. A Notary Public is automatically (ex officio) a commissioner of oaths.

Certain documents are required to be drawn up by a Notary Public, for example ante nuptial contracts, long-term leases, cessions of real rights and notarial bonds (bonds registered over moveable property).

A Notary Public also has the power to authenticate documents, to administer an oath and to certify documents as true copies.

Authentication refers to the verification of any signature on a document. A Notary Public authenticates a document by attesting to the authenticity of the signature of the person who signed the document.

Documents executed (signed) within South Africa which will be used in countries outside of South Africa may need to be authenticated by a Notary Public.  The Notary Public affixes an authentication certificate to the document attesting to the authenticity of the signature of the person who signed the document before the Notary.   

Once the authentication certificate has been affixed to the document by the Notary Public the document may need to be undergo a further step: authentication by the Registrar of the High Court of South Africa in accordance with the Hague Convention .  The Registrar affixes an Apostille to the document, and the document may thus be used in countries outside of South Africa who are members of The Hague Convention.

Similarly, documents executed outside of South Africa which will be used in South Africa may require an Apostille to affixed by the relevant authority in the country outside of South Africa.  Interestingly, documents executed in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland do not require an Apostille but do require simple authentication by a Notary Public. 

Jennifer runs a busy Notarial practice from our FHA Offices is Hout Bay, so feel free to call on her should you require advice or notarial assistance.

  • On March 13, 2020
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