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The Role of the Notary Public in Common Law

10th October 2011
By Notarizer in Business Law
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A notary public is responsible for overseeing the process of signing of documents between two parties and asks each of them to take an oath of authenticity. Thus a notary public acts as a supervisor. In order to act as an authority for carrying out such a process, the one who acts as the notary public should possess a license and thus bear the legal authorization of the state. This empowers the incumbent to take acknowledgements, administer oaths and certify documents. A notary, however, does not have the power to exercise jurisdiction in criminal cases. The term refers to common law notaries alone and therefore should not be considered as civil law notaries.

Before the notary certifies the documents, he/she should ensure that the individual signing the documents are the ones they claim to be. Identities are certainly crucial especially when it comes to notarized documents. It is important for the notary public to verify the signatures as well.

There is a misconception amongst the masses that the official signature or a stamp makes the document ‘true and legal’. However, documents that bear notary public certification just have the seal of the notary and therefore become a part of the notary public record. The seal is necessary for authenticating the signatures on some of the most important legal documents. The identity of the signatories is verified by checking documents such as a driving license.

A notary public firm also extends Apostille services. Notarized documents that are meant to be used abroad should pass a process of legalization and authentication in order to declare them as valid for use in a foreign jurisdiction. This is much like apostille certificates that are given out by countries who form a part of the Hague Convention abolishing the requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. As a resident of Toronto, you can get in touch with a firm that provides notary public Toronto to get the required authentication done. This greatly reduces the pressure on foreign authorities and courts as the documents are validated outside the country. People can access this record and thereby check the ‘official’ signature.

A notary public application can be made prior to signing of the documents. The notaries in Canada function in a way quite similar to the ones in the USA. They are responsible for making statutory declarations, for witnessing signatures on legal documents such as affidavits; provide certification for original copies and bearing acknowledgements. A notarized notary public carries out all these tasks and thus acts as public officer who is assigned the responsibility to serve the public when it comes to deal with non-contentious matters by the law of the state. You can browse the web for more information pertaining to notary public on the web.

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