What is a Public Notary and How Do They Differ from a Justice of the Peace?

A public notary can also be known as a notary or notary public in Melbourne and throughout Australia. A public notary is a public officer who practices as a lawyer. The officer is given authorization by the State or Supreme Courts to administer oaths, witness documents and perform a range of administrative procedures relating to Australian and international documents and matters.

A Justice of the Peace (or JP) provides similar service to a public notary in Melbourne and in other areas of Australia. They are, however, not authorized to witness documents that are to be used overseas.

Justice of the Peace

The primary role of a JP is to:

  • Certify an individual’s identity;
  • Witness affidavit and statutory declarations;
  • Certify copies of original documentation such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates.

Public Notary

A public notary in Melbourne and throughout Australia can carry out the same activities as a Justice of the Peace,and also assist with overseas documentation including:

  • Official documents for personal use including academic transcripts and passports;
  • Overseas real estate transactions;
  • Overseas sales contracts;
  • Foreign trade documentation;
  • Foreign police checks;
  • Will and probate documentation which involves overseas estates and beneficiaries;
  • Company constitutions and associated documents;
  • Transfer of land titles and associated documentation.

The official seal and signatures of all public notaries are recorded with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Essentially if your document needs to be witnessed or authorised for use outside of Australia you will generally need to organise an appointment with a Notary Public in Melbourne or your state of residence, rather than with a Justice of the Peace.

Bring adequate original identification with you to your appointment. Documentation such as passports and drivers licences should be valid and up to date, and contain your current address.

Always check with the overseas organization who will be receiving your documentation before having the document witnessed. For an appointment with a Public Notary in Melbourne, contact us today at Eugenia Mitrakas& Co Lawyers and Notary.