History of the Office of Notary Public in Ireland
The Office of notary public is one of great antiquity and historical significance. It is unclear, however, when or where the first public notary was formally appointed. One of the earliest references to a notary dates back to the time of Cicero (106 ‘ 43BC), the famed Roman orator and statesmen, who, it is claimed, employed persons skilled in the art of writing to record or ‘note’ his speeches.After the abdication in 476 AD of Romulus Augustus, the last emperor of Rome, the papacy became the de facto ruler of Rome. When Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 800AD the empire encompassed the entire heartland of Western Europe, stretching from the Danube to the Pyrenees and from Rome to the North Sea. Ecclesiastical notaries were by then part of the papal household and were known to deal with both ecclesiastical and civil matters. At this time it had become the practice of kings, princes and rulers in communion with the Holy See to seek various dispensations, privileges and faculties which were at the gift of the papacy. One such faculty concerned the appointment of notaries.The Pope, for administrative convenience, frequently delegated the power to appoint public notaries to religious (usually Archbishops) and temporal leaders throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In England, the power to create notaries was vested in and exercised by the Archbishop of Canterbury under papal and imperial authority. In Ireland, public notaries were at various times appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Armagh. The position remained so until the Reformation.There is archival evidence showing that public notaries, acting pursuant to papal and imperial authority, practised in England and in Ireland in the 13th century and it is reasonable to assume that notaries functioned here before that time.After the Reformation, persons appointed to the office of public notary either in Great Britain or Ireland received the faculty by royal authority and appointments under faculty from the Pope and the emperor ceased.In 1871, under the Matrimonial Causes and Marriage Law (Ireland) Amendment 1870, the jurisdiction previously exercised by the Archbishop of Armagh in the appointment of notaries was vested in and became exercisable by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. In 1920, the power to appoint notaries public was transferred to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The position in Ireland changed once again in 1924 following the establishment of the Irish Free State. Under the Courts of Justice Act, 1924 the jurisdiction over notaries public was transferred to the Chief Justice of the Irish Free State. In 1961, under the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act of that year, and the power to appoint notaries public became exercisable by the Chief Justice .This remains the position in the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland, notaries public are appointed by the Lord Chief Justice.
Functions of a Notary in Ireland
A Notary Public is empowered by law and by custom and usage of notaries through the ages to
- Administer Oaths
- Attest Signatures
- Authenticate Documents
- Give Notarial Acts
- Take Affidavits (though not for use in the courts in Ireland)
- Take Affirmations and Declarations
- Receive and Make Protests under Mercantile Law, and issue notarial certificates in respect of documents and persons.
- Draw up Powers of Attorney and other legal documents customarily prepared by Notaries Public
The acts of Notaries Public have worldwide recognition.
Apostille and Legalisation in Ireland
An Apostille is a certificate issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs verifying the genuineness of the signature and/or seal of a public officer e.g. a Notary Public, on a public document and the capacity in which he or she has acted. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘fast-track’ version of legalisation.The Apostille certificate may be stamped on or attached to the public document required to be apostilled. It is obtained by presenting the document at the Department of Foreign Affairs, which in Dublin is at Authentication Department, Passport Office Building, Setanta House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2, overhead the Passport Office, open Monday to Friday 9:30 to 12:30 and 2.30 to 4.00 with telephone number Tel: + 353 1 4782960 and its website address is: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/our-services/authenticating-documents/ and in Cork at 1A South Mall, Cork, and paying the appropriate consular fee, normally €40.00 per document. The Apostille procedure applies in lieu of Legalisation between countries that have signed and ratified or acceded to the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961. Ireland ratified the Convention in 1999.Other countries in which the Apostille procedure applies may be checked on the the Hague Convention website, where a list of countries adhering to the Apostille system abolishing the need for legalisation, and also those countries not Hague Convention Countries Adhering or likely also on the Department of Foreign Affairs webpage.
Legalisation (in some countries spelled ‘Legalization’) is an internationally recognised procedure for certifying the authenticity of official signatures and/or official seal applied to a public document. It operates by means of an unbroken chain of verifying signatures commencing with that of the first signatory to the document and ending with the signature of the diplomatic or consular representative of the state in which the document is to produced and acted upon.The legalisation procedure usually commences with the attestation by a Notary Public of the signature of a person to a formal document e.g. a Power of Attorney. The Notary Public having subscribed his or her name and affixed his or her official seal to the document by way of notarial act arranges for the document to be produced to the Registrar of the Supreme Court for the purpose of having the Notary’s signature and official seal verified.The document is then produced at the Consular Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin for the purpose of having the signature of the Supreme Court Registrar verified and finally it is produced to the diplomatic or consular representative in Dublin (or London) of the foreign country in which it is intended the document shall be produced for the purpose of having the Irish Consular Officer’s signature legalised.When all the foregoing steps have been completed, the document is said to have been legalised.Other countries in which the Apostille procedure applies may be checked on the the Hague Convention website, where a list of countries adhering to the Apostille system abolishing the need for legalisation, and also those countries not Hague Convention Countries Adhering or likely also on the Department of Foreign Affairs webpage.
The Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland
The Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland (the ‘Faculty Company’ or the ‘Faculty’) is an incorporated body having as its objects the promotion, advancement and regulation of the profession of Notary Public in Ireland. The day-to-day affairs of the Faculty are managed by the Dean and the Registrar who report to the Board of Directors and the General Meeting.The Faculty provides information to Notaries Public, Solicitors and the public in general on matters within its province and in particular as regards aspects of notarial practice and procedure in Ireland.
The Faculty participates in the World Organisation of Notaries (W. O. N.) of which the Faculty was involved in its unauguration in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland in March 2010. W. O. N. is now based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Faculty also convened WON’s first Annual Conference in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin and is participating this year in October 2014 in its second such in Hawaii.
The Faculty of Notories Public in Ireland
IDX: Ranelagh 10 002
Phone: 00 353 1 497 3611
Fax: 00 353 1 496 4769