What does a Notary do?
Here I am going to cheat and borrow a definition from
the standard text book. I must confess that practising in High Wycombe
gives me very little opportunity to do anything with ships
but there are rowing boats on the lake in the Rye nearby and my
chance might yet come.
"Generally speaking, a notary public in England
may be described as an officer of the law appointed by the Court
of Faculties whose public office and duty is to draw, attest or
certify under his signature and official seal in such a manner as
to render them acceptable, as proof of the matters attested by him,
to the judicial or other public authorities in the country where
they are to be used, whether by means of issuing a notarial certificate
as to the due execution of such documents or by drawing them in
the form of public instruments; to keep a protocol containing originals
of all instruments which he makes in the public form and to issue
authentic copies of such documents; to administer oaths and declarations
for use in proceedings in England and elsewhere; to note and certify
transactions relating to negotiable instruments, and to draw up
protests or other formal papers relating to occurrences on the voyages
of ships and their navigation as well as the carriage of cargo in
(Taken from Brookes Notary)
Normally you are likely to have to appear before me
together with a document that needs to be effective abroad. I can
endorse the appropriate certificate on it so to give it sufficient
force and authority.
The key thing to bear in mind is that a Notary can
only certify to something he is sure about. If I certify that something
is a true copy then I must be sure that it is and I will normally
ensure this by photocopying the document myself.