Notarial acts require a high standard of care, as reliance on such acts is made by clients, third parties and foreign governments and officials.
The Notary has a responsibility to protect against error, omission, alterations, fraud, and forgery. This is part of the oath taken by all practising Notaries.
Notarial acts are not rubber stamping exercises and the requirements of accuracy and validity cannot be overridden by urgency or expense. Many people, wrongly, assume, that Notaries simply act as witnesses to signatures. The role of a Notary is much more than that.
Notaries are highly experienced legal practitioners with specialist training. We exercise our public office in what is a Civil Roman Law tradition in a Common Law jurisdiction. Notaries have a duty to ensure that the document they are notarising records what the Notary has done.
Unless otherwise agreed in writing Notarial responsibility is limited to the Notarial formalities and does not extend to advice on or drafting of documentation or on the matter under consideration. As a general rule, I do not advise clients in relation to the legal efficacy of documents prepared for use overseas, if you have queries regarding the documents and the legal effect of them you should speak to your overseas lawyer.
Michael Francis Prendergast
22 Derby Street,
T: 01695 574 201
F: 01695 579 986