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Home > Can a justice of the peace witness Queensland mortgage documents?

Can a justice of the peace witness Queensland mortgage documents?

Signing Queensland mortgage documents in New South Wales

If you live in New South Wales, but you’re signing Queensland mortgage documents, can you sign them in front of a justice of the peace?

The short answer is ‘yes’. However, while you can sign Queensland mortgage documents in front of a justice of the peace in New South Wales, the chances are that they won’t or they can’t help you. In fact, sometimes your bank may advise you or direct you to not sign in front of a justice of the peace.

Why won’t a JP witness your Queensland mortgage documents?

Although a justice of the peace can witness you sign Queensland mortgage documents, they probably won’t. This is because of their additional requirements and their additional obligations under Section 162 of the Land Title Act 1994 (Queensland).

Section 162 provides that:

(1) A person who witnesses an instrument executed by an individual must—

(a) first take reasonable steps to verify the identity of the individual and ensure the individual is the person entitled to sign the instrument; and

(b) have the individual execute the instrument in the presence of the person; and

(c) not be a party to the instrument.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1) (a) , the person takes reasonable steps to verify the identity of the individual if the person complies with practices included in the manual of land title practice under section 9A for verifying the individual’s identity.

(3) The person must, for 7 years after the person witnesses the signing of the instrument—

(a) keep a written record of the steps taken under subsection (1)(a); or

(b) keep originals or copies of the documents and other evidence provided to or otherwise obtained by the person in complying with subsection (1)(a).

(4) The registrar may, whether before or after the registration of the instrument, ask the person—

(a) to advise the registrar about the steps taken by the person under subsection (1)(a); and

(b) to produce for the registrar’s inspection the written record mentioned in subsection (3)(a)or the originals or copies mentioned in subsection (3)(b).

(5) The person must comply with a request under subsection (4) unless the person has a reasonable excuse.

Penalty—

Maximum penalty—20 penalty units.

Not only does a JP need to be aware of their obligations under this section (and the requirements of the land title practice manual), but they must also be able to fulfil them too.

A justice of the peace may be familiar with verifying a person’s identity and witnessing their signature in general (ie, on a standard statutory declaration). But are they familiar with their obligations under the legislation, or the land title practice manual, and are they able to retain the records and the associated evidence for 7 years? That’s a big responsibility for many justices of the peace who usually undertake the role as a voluntary community service. If they don’t satisfy this obligation, they could be subject to a substantial fine!

If a justice of the peace is unable or unwilling to satisfy the additional requirements imposed by s162 of the Land Titles Act 1994, then they shouldn’t witness Queensland mortgage documents.

Why will a JP refer you to us to witness your Queensland mortgage documents?

Lawyers and notary publics are accustomed to legal obligations arising from legislation, witnessing documents and retaining the necessary records. In fact, as a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney, witnessing documents like this is one of our primary functions. Our lawyers and notary public are familiar with the additional requirements and obligations imposed on witnesses to Queensland mortgage documents and frequently provide this service to NSW residents.

Signing QLD documents in NSW

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Ern Phang
Ern Phang
Notary Public

This website is maintained by Phang Legal, a boutique law firm in Parramatta and a leading provider of quality notary public services to satisfied clients across Sydney and beyond.

Ern Phang is a director of Phang Legal and a notary public (since 2005). Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public and the issues faced by his clients in sending documents to countries all over the world.

All information on this website is for general purposes only and correct at the time of publication. Only rely on information and advice that is specific to your situation and current at the time you wish to rely on it.
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