A Notary Public is a term that refers to an attorney who possesses in-depth knowledge of a set of legal facts and the processes prescribed therein.  A Notary Public needs to be admitted and authorised by the High Court to witness signatures, draw and attest contracts and statements, and authenticate the validity of certain documents.  This office is held to a higher standard of care than an attorney since the nature of the services they provide is highly ethical and requires specialist knowledge.

What does a Notary do?
Part of a Notary's duty is to screen the individuals who sign important documents for their true identity, their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction, and their willingness to sign without coercion or intimidation. Some situations require a Notary to put the individual under oath, declaration under penalty of perjury that the information contained in a document is true and correct.

A Notary Public has to have impartiality as a foundational value. They need to be duty-bound and thus cannot act in situations with personal interest. The public trusts that the Notary's screening tasks are corruption-and self-interest free. Impartiality also assures that a Notary never refuses to serve a person due to their religion, race, nationality, politics, sexual orientation, or status as a non-customer.

By law, the following documents need to be drawn up by a Notary:
  • Antenuptial Contracts
  • Long-term Leases
  • Servitudes (personal and praedial)
  • Cession of Rights in Sectional Title Schemes
  • Notarial Bonds
A Notary Public is also needed to certify a range of legal documents, including:
Other duties can include: Administering the oath or affirmation, witnessing and authenticating the execution of documents for use inside and outside of a country; protest bills of exchange; and preparing ship protests.

For further information please visit our informative notary related websites:
Apostilles.Africa - Document Legalisation & Notary Public Services 
Notary.Africa - Notary Public Services South Africa
PostnuptialContracts. co. za - Register Postnuptial Contract after marriage. 
Cohabitation Contracts .co.za - Registration of Cohabitation / Life Partnership Agreements 

what is a notary public?  image