Notarial Services available at WMM Law
Director Kate Moss B.Sc. LL.B. TEP, is a Lawyer and Notary Public.
Kate Moss is an experienced Notary. She is a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries, and is only the second female Notary appointed in Tasmania.
An appointment can be made to see Kate Moss by calling (03) 6223 8899. Alternatively, you can send an email providing a contact phone number and your email address, to firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our support staff will be in contact to provide you with preliminary information, and make an appointment for you with Kate Moss.
When you make an appointment, you will be asked to provide details about the purpose of the appointment and to describe the documents where you need a Notarial Intervention. You may be asked to send scanned copies of the documents in advance of your appointment.
Although we understand that you may have a limited time period to have the Notary intervene, please remember that as most Notaries are practising lawyers, they are usually very busy. We will try and fit you in where possible, but we cannot guarantee an appointment, particularly on short notice. We can usually see you within in 2-3 days.
We do not accept “walk in” appointments.
If we do give you an appointment, particularly on short notice, where our other work may be put on hold to attend to you, you are likely to incur extra costs due to the urgency. It is always best to book in as soon as possible to avoid this. Where our Notaries cannot see you, we will refer you to another Notary.
Some useful terms:
- Appearer: an “Appearer” is the person who wishes to have the Notary undertake a Notarial Intervention which if successfully carried out results in a Notarial Act. The person who is the client for these purposes, appears before the Notary
- Notarial Intervention: this is the process of engaging the Notary for the purposes of the Notarial Act where the Appearer appears before the Notary and the Notary intervenes with the documents
- Notary: the terms “Notary,” “Notary Public” and “Public Notary” are all interchangeable and mean the same thing in Tasmania. The more modern of these terms is “Notary.” Every Notary practising in Tasmania holds an appointment from the Supreme Court of Tasmania under the Notaries Public Act 1990
- Private Clients: a person who appears before the Notary is an Appearer and they are a private client when they are not representing a corporate or commercial enterprise, a government or semi government authority, or a trustee. They are appearing before the Notary on their own behalf
- Notarial Seal: every Notary in Tasmania will have a seal. It may be wet seal, which is a rubber seal which, when it has ink on it, which forms a stamp, which a Notary can affix to documents. It may be a dry seal, which is a form of embossed stamp, which is embossed over a red or other coloured seal on documents. The Notary’s seal represents, along with their signature, their authority as a Notary
- Apostille: this is a process where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provide, by way of certification, that the signature, stamp and seal of the Notary is genuine. This is often required by foreign governments and foreign authorities as an additional step after the Notarial Intervention. It will only be required in foreign countries where the foreign country is a signature to The Hague Convention. See the DFAT website here – https://dfat.gov.au/about-us/our-services/apostilles-authentications-certificates-of-no-impediment-to-marriage/Pages/apostilles-authentications-and-certificates-of-no-impediment-to-marriage.aspx See also the definition of legalisation below and the definition of authentication
- Legalisation: this is the process undertaken by the Department of Foreign Affairs, either by an Apostille or an Authentication, which confirms that the Notary, their signature, stamp and seal are genuine. See the DFAT website here – https://dfat.gov.au/about-us/our-services/apostilles-authentications-certificates-of-no-impediment-to-marriage/Pages/apostilles-authentications-and-certificates-of-no-impediment-to-marriage.aspx
- Authentication: this is a process where the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provide, by way of certification, that the signature, stamp and seal of the Notary is genuine. DFAT complete this process when the relevant country, overseas, is not a signature to the Hague Convention. Authentication is often required by foreign governments and foreign authorities as an additional step after the Notarial Intervention. See the DFAT website here – https://dfat.gov.au/about-us/our-services/apostilles-authentications-certificates-of-no-impediment-to-marriage/Pages/apostilles-authentications-and-certificates-of-no-impediment-to-marriage.aspx
Services provided by a Notary
The role of a Notary in general terms is to witness, authenticate, or provide certificates about documents involving a Notarial Intervention, so that the documents can be used overseas. The seal and signature of the Notary shows overseas authorities that the document has been part of a Notarial Intervention and the identity of the person signing the document has been verified in the form show on the Notarial Certificate to the satisfaction of the Notary. The main service provided by Notaries in Tasmania, is the provision of a Notarial Certificate about particular facts, actions, and documents.
Why are Notaries Necessary?
Foreign countries often have a legal requirement within their system for documents to be authenticated in a particular way when they are signed overseas (for example signed in Tasmania). The most common system of doing this is for the person who needs to sign the document, to appear before a Notary. Most countries in the world accept documents where a person who is overseas (in the sense of overseas from that country) where the person appears before a local Notary. For example documents that are required in Greece, Germany, France, Norway, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Thailand, China, India, Bahrain, all achieve authentication through being signed in Tasmania before a Notary. There are over 180 countries that accept the process of a Tasmanian Notarial Intervention.
In a technical sense, Notaries are necessary because in a foreign country the legal requirements of that foreign country include a requirement that someone outside that foreign country (for example in Tasmania, Australia) must appear before a Notary (again for example a Tasmanian Notary) in order that the documents that need to be signed or notarised are properly authenticated by the local Notary in order to give those documents validity in the foreign country.
The work of Notaries is essential to commercial certainty and business efficacy in international dealings. Notarial practice is fundamental as a safeguard against fraud and forgery in international dealings.
The signature seal of the Notary allows people in foreign jurisdictions to be confident about the authenticity of documents and the identity of the person or people with whom they are dealing.
Who can be a Notary?
To become a Notary in Tasmania a person must have practiced as a lawyer for at least five years, be of good fame and character, be competent to act as a Notary and be appointed by the Supreme Court of Tasmania. The legislation in Tasmania that regulates the appointment of Notaries is the Notaries Public Act 1990.
Can a Justice of the Peace Carry Out a Role as a Notary?
A Justice of the Peace cannot act as a Notary. They are different roles. If the person you are dealing with overseas advises you to go to a Notary, there is no Justice of the Peace who can carry out the role required. A Justice of the Peace has, what is usually called, a “domestic role”, in that they are authorised by law to sign, witness and certify documents for use within Tasmania, and in some circumstances other states and territories in Australia. This domestic role of a Justice of the Peace cannot be compared to the international role of a Notary. A Notary generally will not carry out Notarial Acts where the document is for use within Australia, even where they are authorised at law to do so.
How many Notaries are there in Tasmania?
As of 21 December 2020 there are 10 Notaries in Tasmania, one of whom, Kate Moss, undertakes her Notarial practice at WMM Law.
Where can a Tasmanian Notary operate their practice?
The geographical limits of a Tasmanian Notary are Tasmania: they can operate anywhere within Tasmania. They cannot practice as a Notary outside Tasmania, unless they obtain an appointment as a Notary within the other relevant state or territory. Notaries from overseas, and from other states and territories of Australia, cannot act as a Notary in Tasmania.
Private client work undertaken by Kate Moss as Notary
Kate Moss provides a wide range of Notarial services for private clients through WMM Law. Here are some examples of the Notarial work that she does:
- providing Notarial certificates for private clients
- witnessing signatures as a Notary, of private clients, on powers of attorney which are for use overseas
- preparing powers of attorney for private clients, which are for use overseas
- certifying, as a Notary, true copies of documents for use overseas
- preparing some legal documents in their capacity as a lawyer, prior to exercising their Notarial role
- dealing with documentation which relates to someone who has died, and the documentation about that death, or the estate of the person who has died needs to be used overseas
- dealing with documentation for land and property overseas
- prepare and certify powers of attorney, wills, deeds, contracts and other legal documents for use in Australia and internationally
- dealing with documentation which relate to a private client’s claim to citizenship of an overseas country
- attest documents and certify their due execution for use internationally
- authenticating the identity of private clients
- authenticating official Government documents and information, for use overseas by private clients
- administer oaths and declarations for international documents
- witness signatures to affidavits, statutory declarations, powers of attorney, contracts and other documents for use internationally
- the exemplification of documents for use internationally
- note and protest bills of exchange
- providing certificates of being alive, where this is required for the payment of pensions or payment of income streams during life. These are some time called “Life Certificates”
- witnessing the signatures of private clients, to a wide variety of documents where the documents will be used overseas
In each of these cases, the private client is appearing before the Notary to have these things done.
Corporate and commercial work undertaken by Kate Moss as Notary
Kate Moss provides a wide range of Notarial services for corporate and commercial clients, government and semi-government clients, and trustees of trusts and superannuation funds through WMM Law. Here are some examples of commercial and corporate work undertaken by Kate Moss as Notary:
- providing Notarial certificates for commercial and corporate documents
- authentication of commercial and corporate documents to be produced and acted on overseas
- foreign powers of attorney and other commercial documents executed in Australia for use overseas requiring Notarial certificates for commercial and corporate clients
- the verification of commercial and corporate documents to be produced and acted on overseas
- providing Notarial certificates for investment documents overseas
- providing Notarial verification of documents issued by Australian or state government or semi-government institutions, for production overseas
- providing Notarial certificates on declarations and receiving affidavits for production overseas
- providing Notarial certificates for companies and other entities where the Notarial certificate relates to corporate governance, reports, resolutions and minutes
- prepare ships’ protests
- documents involving intellectual property which require verification, authentication and certificates of deeds, declarations and related documents
- advice on and preparation of Certificates of Good Standing for corporations and entities
The qualified duty of the Notary to act
The duty of a Notary, to act for an Appearer or potential Appearer, is a highly qualified duty. A Notary does not have an obligation to act for everyone who wishes to appear before them and obtain the benefit of a Notarial intervention.
A person cannot insist that Notarial intervention take place on their terms. A Notary is free to turn away any potential Appearer for a number of reasons, including:
- the client might not need Notarial intervention, in the view of the Notary
- the Notary may have a view that to act would involve a conflict of interest
- the Notary might be unable to verify the identity of the client before them
- the client might be seeking a Notarial intervention for illegitimate reasons
- the Notary may not be confident that the person has sufficient mental capacity to carry out whatever may be required of them in the Notarial intervention.
- The Notary may form the view that the person who wishes to appear before them lacks the legal capacity to sign required documents.
- The person may be asking the Notary to witness documents that can be witnessed by witnesses that who are not Notaries.
Notaries do not have an obligation to give legal advice, as part of the Notarial intervention, and generally will not do so. They are unlikely to give legal advice about foreign law. If, the Notary is a lawyer, in addition to being a Notary, and they agree to give legal advice, in addition to the Notarial intervention, then the Notary is entitled to charge for that advice. Notaries in Tasmania, who are not lawyers, are not entitled to give legal advice.