The World Wide Notary

 The United States notaries can do many tasks such as oath of affirmation, witness and verification of documents and other important functions for state governments as a public official. However, many would be surprised at what a Notary Public's duties and authorities are in other countries. In some countries notaries are the equivalent to lawyers and in others, they are few and far between.

In the continent and country of Australia, notaries are appointed by the Supreme Court of the territory the notary lives in. However in Queensland, Australia notaries have to be appointed by the archbishop of Canterbury. This is practice has gone on forever and it is a much different process than in the United States. There are also very few notaries in Australia. In one of the biggest territories in Australia, Melbourne there is only 66 notaries for a city that has a population of 3.5 million people, and 90 notaries for the whole province.

This is a drastic change from the United States that has thousands of notaries just in California. Another interesting fact about Australian notaries is that they do not hold "commissions" that expire. Once they are selected as notary officials they are notary publics for life. So an American notary resembles more of an Australian Justice of the peace rather than an Australian notary. Their Neighbor New Zealand is another country where it is more difficult to become a notary.

In England, there are a few different classes of notaries. One are English notaries, they have the same power as law practitioners and solicitors, besides being able to represent people in the courts. Another type is Scrivener notaries, whom still exist today. Scrivener notaries were the only notaries who were allowed to practice their trade in the city of London. They held this monopoly for a long time until 1999 when the law was reversed. Lastly, ecclesiastical notaries are notaries who are limited to functions for the Church of England. The Master of the Faculties appoints all of these notaries and issues their commission. Unlike Australia, English notaries are only appointed to 4 year terms much like the U.S.


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