What is the Difference between a Notary Public & a Justice of The Peace?

In Victoria, a Notary Public (also known as a Public Notary or Notary) is a Solicitor who, having held a Principal Practising Certificate for at least 5 years and having undergone training in Notarial Practice, has been duly admitted to the Supreme Court as a Public Notary.

What is a Justice of The Peace?

On the other hand, a JP is a volunteer of good character and standing in the community who has been appointed by the Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. A JP’s role is mainly focused on:

  • Witnessing affidavits and statutory declarations
  • Certifying true copies of original documents
  • Certifying a person’s identity

Notary Public Victoria Services

A Notary has the ability to carry out all of the functions of a JP with the addition of having their own Signature and Official Seal that is recognised in Australian, foreign and International courts. A Notary can:

  • Authenticate the execution of documents
  • Administer oaths and take statutory declarations
  • Prepare certificates of law
  • Verify a person’s identity and witness their signature and/or finger prints on documents to be used overseas
  • Certify that a copy of a part or an entire document is a true and correct copy of that document so that can be legally recognised throughout the world

So, if you are traveling overseas, undertaking an international business transaction or dealing with a foreign institution, engage the services of a Public Notary. You will find that a Notary can help you with:

  • Contracts that relate to the sale of foreign property or businesses or with an overseas vendor/purchaser
  • Wills and probate documents involving overseas estates and beneficiaries
  • Documents for international trademark, copyright and patent applications and infringements
  • Overseas trade documentation, for example Letter of Credit (LC)
  • Company constitutions and accompanying documentation
  • Instruments affecting the transfer of land
  • Documents for personal use such as passports, academic qualifications and citizenship certificates
  •  Paperwork for the consent of a minor to travel overseas without their parents
  • Overseas Police Checks

So when you need to get a document witnessed or authenticated for production overseas, you invariably need to make an appointment with a Public Notary rather than visiting your local JP – but check first with the receiving entity in the overseas country where the document is to be produced.

If you are thinking of engaging the services of a Justice of the Peace (JP) to get a document authenticated or a signature witnessed for production overseas, you need to confirm with the receiving entity in the overseas country where the document is to be produced whether this will be acceptable.

Usually the receiving overseas entity will require the involvement of a Notary Public rather than a JP. But check this out in the first place – you do not want to waste time and money by sending a document overseas only to be told that what is required is the assistance of a Notary, not a JP.