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Notary Public

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public in Australia is a person appointed by the highest Court of a State or Territory who is empowered to perform the following functions which are recognised nationally and internationally:
- attest the execution of a document;
- witness an affidavit for use in court;
- witness a statutory declaration;
- certify a true copy of an original document;
- certify a person's identity.

Duc Mai.jpeg

What are the Differences Between a Notary Public and a Justice of the Peace?

A Justice of the Peace (JP) is a person authorised under the relevant State legislation to carry out the aforesaid functions which can only be recognised in Australia.

A Notary Public is commonly known as an International JP whose aforesaid functions can be recognised overseas. 


1. Do I need an APOSTILLE/AUTHENTICATION on a document that has been notarised by a Notary Public?

Most overseas Governments, courts and institutions need proof that Australian documents are genuine before accepting them.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) would certify the genuine nature of a notarial document upon checking the specimen of the relevant Notary's signature and seal held on its file by stamping the document with an APOSTILLE or AUTHENTICATION.

2. What are the differences between APOSTILLE and AUTHENTICATION?

Documents that are to be used in countries that are parties to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents ("the Hague Convention") would require an APOSTILLE. 

Documents that are to be used in countries that are not parties to the Hague Convention such as CHINA, VIETNAM and most of the Middle East countries would usually require AUTHENTICATICATION.

Documents that are AUTHENTICATED would require a THIRD STEP, namely LEGALISATION which can only be carried out by the Consul or Embassy of the relevant country.

In some cases, neither an APOSTILLE nor AUTHENTICATION would be required for the Commonwealth countries such as United Kingdom, New Zealand and Singapore. It is, however, advisable that you always check with your local agent to ensure that this is the case.


Once a document has been notarised by a Notary Public, you can contact DFAT to request that an APOSTILLE or AUTHENTICATION be endorsed thereon.

More information on the process thereof can be found at:…/apostilles-authentications-and-certifi…

Contact details for DFAT office in South Australia: 
5th Floor, 55 Currie Street
TELEPHONE: 1300 935 260.

About Duc Mai

Mr. Duc Mai is a highly experienced Notary Public appointed by the Supreme Court of South Australia and also a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries.

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