Notary Or Notary Public
notaries office person
NOTARY or NOTARY PUBLIC. In Roman law the notarius was originally a slave or freedman who took notes (note) of judicial proceedings in shorthand or cipher. The notary of modern law corresponds rather to the tabellio or tabularius of Roman law than to the notarius. In the canon law the notary was a person of great importance, and it was a inaxim of that law that his evidence was worth that of two unskilled witnesses.
In most European countries he still holds something of his old position under the canon law. In France, for instance, a document attested by a notary is said to be " legalized," a term much too strong to express the effect of such attestation in England, where the notary public, in spite of his name, is not recognized as a public officer to such a degree as the notary in other countries. The office of notary in England is a very ancient one. It is mentioned in statute law as early as the Statute of Pro-visors, 25 Edward III. scat. 4. The English notary is a skilled person, nominated since 25 Henry VIII. c. 21 by the archbishop of Canterbury through the master of the faculties (now the judge of the provincial courts of Canterbury and York), in order to secure evidence as to the attestation of important documents. All registrars of ecclesiastical courts must be notaries.
The office is still nominally an ecclesiastical one, though its duties are mainly of a secular character. " The general functions of a notary consist in receiving all acts and con- tracts which must or are wished to be clothed with an the style and with the seal of the notary, obtain the name of original acts ; and in giving authentic copies of such acts" (Brooke, On the Office of a lirotary, chap. iii.). The act of a notary in authenticating or certifying a document but not that the facts that he has certified are true, except in the case of a bill of exchange protested abroad.
The most important part of an English notary's duty at the present day is the noting and protest of foreign bills of exchange in case of non-acceptance or non-payment. ' notaries are 25 Henry VIII. c. 21 ; 4-1 George III. c. 79 ; 3 and 4 William IV. c. 70 ; 6 and 7 Vict. c. 90.
In Scotland, before the reign of James III., papal and imperial notaries practised until the third parliament of that king, held at Edinburgh on the 29th November 1469, when an Act was passed declaring that notaries should be made by the king. It would appear, however, that for some time afterwards there were in Scotland two kinds of notaries, clerical and legal, - the instruments taken by the latter bearing faith in civil matters. In 1551 an Act was passed directing sheriffs to bring or send both kinds of notaries to the lords of session to be examined ; and in a subsequent statute, passed in 1555, it was ordained that no notary, " by whatsoever power he be created," should use the office "except he first present himself to the said lords, showing his creation, and be admitted by them thereto." It does not appear that this statute vested the right of making notaries in the court of session ; but in 1563 it was by law declared that no person should take on him the office, under the pain of death, unless created by the sovereign's special letters, and thereafter examined and admitted by the lords of session. Since then the court of session has in Scotland exercised full and exclusive authority on the admission of notaries in all legal matters, spiritual and temporal. The position of notaries in Scotland is somewhat higher than it is in England. Certain facts connected with the title to land must be authenticated by notarial instrument, 21 and 22 Vict. c. 76. A notary may execute a deed for a person unable to write, 37 and 38 Vict. c. 94, s. 41. The parish clergyman has notarial powers to the extent of executing a will, - a relic of the old ecclesiastical position of notaries.
In America the duties of a notary vary in different States. "They are generally as follows : - to protest bills of exchange and draw up acts of honour ; to authenticate and certify copies of documents ; to receive the affidavits of mariners and draw up protests relating to the same ; to attest deeds and other instruments ; and to administer oaths " (Bouvier, Law Dictionary).