No, a justice of the peace (JP) cannot notarise a document.
The verb ‘notarise’ is reserved for acts performed by a notary public. If a document must be notarised, then it must be attested by a notary public.
Notarising a document
Notarising a document usually involves:
- The notary public witnesses someone signing that document. Usually, the notary public will verify the person’s identity (according to their identification document(s)) and confirm that they saw the person sign that document in their presence.
- The notary public certifies or verifies a document. Usually, the notary public will take a copy of an original document and certify that the copy is a copy of the original document (ie, create a certified copy). In some cases, the notary public may be required to verify the authenticity of the original document or the information contained within the document.
Documents intended to be used outside of Australia
If you intend to use a document in another country (ie, not in Australia) but that document is being signed in Australia or was created in Australia, you will likely need to have that document notarised. If you have your document attested by a JP, it may not be accepted in the intended destination country.
If your document must be stamped with an apostille or be authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for legalisation purposes, your document cannot be attested by a JP. DFAT does not recognise or accept documents that have been attested by a JP.
Documents intended to be used in Australia
If you intend to use a document in Australia, it can be attested by a notary public – but it usually does not have to be attested by a notary public. In New South Wales, documents can usually be witnessed or certified by a JP, lawyer or a notary public. In other states and for Commonwealth matters, there may be other authorised individuals who can witness or certify documents. Most people will choose to use a JP since a JP provides a free service, while lawyers or notary publics usually charge a fee for their services.
Who can witness my signature or certify my documents?
Do you have any questions?
Sending documents from Australia to other countries can be complicated. We make it simple.
If your documents must be stamped with an apostille or authenticated and then legalised, we can help with that too. We’ve also created a flowchart to explain the process.
So, what’s next?
Why choose Phang Legal for your notary public services?
We’re a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. We’re known for:
- Our experience and expertise in notarising documents for other countries;
- Our low-cost fixed fees and service offerings; and
- Our availability to help on short notice.
Our office is conveniently located in Parramatta, the geographic centre of the Sydney metropolitan area. We help clients from across Sydney and beyond with personal, professional and timely notary public services.
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.