Skip to content
Menu

What’s the difference between a notary public and a justice of peace?

What’s the difference between a notary public and a justice of peace?

In Australia, the main difference between a notary public and a justice of peace is that a notary public is recognised overseas (ie, outside of Australia) while a justice of peace is only recognised in Australia. The role of a notary public can be best described as an ‘international justice of the peace’.

If your document needs to be used overseas then you will generally need to have your document notarised by a notary public. The fact that you are asking this question and you are now reading this page suggests that someone has asked you to use a notary public or to have your documents notarised.

Importantly, if you also need to have your documents stamped with an apostille or authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), DFAT will not recognise a justice of the peace – only a notary public. So in order for you to have your documents stamped with an apostille or authenticated by DFAT, your document will also need to be notarised (unless they are Australian government public documents).

A notary public can also assist you with documents that you use in Australia, but as a justice of the peace may not charge a fee for their service, using a justice of the peace for documents that you use in Australia is a financially logical choice.

For your further information, all notaries in Australia must be lawyers but not all lawyers are or must be notaries. A justice of peace does not have to be a lawyer (and probably most justice of peace are not lawyers). For more information regarding JPs in New South Wales, please visit http://www.jp.nsw.gov.au/.

* this is our most ‘frequent’ frequently asked question regarding our notary public services.

Other FAQs regarding our notary public services

If you have any other questions regarding our notary public services, please contact our office on 02 9687 8885 to speak with our notary public or visit our other frequently asked questions, also found below: