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Schedule C - Education & Training of Notaries

England and Wales


The Notaries (Qualification) Rules 1998 made by the Master of the Faculties set out the present requirements for qualification as a notary in England and Wales. The Rules provide that no person shall be admitted as a notary to practise within England and Wales unless (1) he is over 21 years of age and satisfies the qualification requirements of the Rules; (2) takes the oath of allegiance and the other required by section 7 of the Public Notaries Act 1843; and (3) is either a solicitor of the Supreme Court, a barrister at law or holds a degree. In addition to satisfying the above requirements, an applicant for admission as a general notary must first obtain various practical qualifications as specified in the Rules. These require that the prospective notary must have followed and obtained a satisfactory standard in a course or courses of study covering all the following subjects:

(1)    Public/Constitutional Law;

(2)    Law of Property;

(3)    Law of Contract;

(4)    Law of the European Union;

(5)    Roman Law as an introduction to Civil-Law Systems;

(6)    Equity and the Law of Trusts;

(7)    Private International Law;

(8)    Conveyancing;

(9)    Business Law and Practice;

(10)    Wills, Probate and Administration

(11)    Notarial Practice (including Bills of Exchange).

The University of Cambridge Postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Practice is designed to enable legally qualified applicants to qualify as notaries.

An application for admission must be accompanied by certificates of fitness and good character and an undertaking that the applicant will maintain professional indemnity insurance.

After admission the notary is required to undergo a period of practice under the supervision of an experienced notary for a period of at least two years. The supervisor is required to visit the newly admitted notary, in inspect his books and records and the transactions he has undertaken, to be available to assist and to advise; and to make a report to the Faculty Office.

After admission and during the period of practice under supervision the notary is also required to undergo continuing educational courses approved by the Faculty Office.

The Notaries Society also organises regular continuing education days and also an annual seminar/conference each year.

Special provision is made in compliance with Directive 2005/36/EC for the admission of persons holding the office of notary public in a Member State of the European Economic Area other than the United Kingdom; this special provision also applies to notaries qualified in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The education and training of scrivener notaries

The training and examination requirements for prospective scrivener notaries are contained in the Scriveners (Qualifications) Rules 1998 made by the Court of the Company. The Rules were introduced with the specific purposes, among others, of enhancing the quality of notarial services in Central London by providing properly structured training for prospective scrivener notaries, emphasising the special skills of scrivener notaries, both linguistic and in the field of foreign law, introducing new skills and expanding the profession. The Rules also seek to encourage general notaries to become scrivener notaries by granting appropriate exemptions and introduce a greater level of uniformity among the profession generally in England and Wales by acknowledging the need for a common diploma. The more academic slant of the Rules (which among other things require candidates to pass examinations in foreign law relevant to notarial practice and two foreign languages) is also intended to align the profession more closely with its counterparts in Continental Europe.


The Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 (as amended)

All intrant notaries in Scotland will be qualified as solicitors. In practice, this means that they will:-

(a)    have completed an LL.B from a Scottish university;

(b)    satisfied examination requirements imposed by the Law Society of Scotland;

(c)    undertaken a post graduate diploma in legal practice; or

(d)    undertaken a two-year traineeship

The Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990 provides that the offices and functions of:-

(a)    the Clerk to the admission of Notaries Public; and

(b)    the Keeper of the Register of Notaries Public are transferred to the Council of the Law Society of Scotland (the statutory governing body for all solicitors in Scotland).

Any petition to the Inner House of the Court of Session, whether made by the Council or the petitioner himself, for the admission of a person as a solicitor may, if so desired, include an application for that person's admission as a notary public and any order made on such a petition admitting that person as a solicitor may admit him as a notary public and direct the Council to register the petitioner in the Register of Notaries Public.

The procedure to be followed on an application for admission as a notary public is prescribed by the Rules of Court.

Once the petition has been granted, the Court remits the case to the Council or the Law Society of Scotland who marks the notary's protocol and takes the declaration de fidele administratione. The Society also enrols the petitioner as a notary public. All petitions for admission as a notary public are Court of Session Inner House petitions and are often dealt with personally by the Lord President of the Court of Session (Scotland's highest Judge).

Removal from the Register of Notaries Public

The Act also provides for the removal from the Register of names of notaries public by Section 58 which provides:-

“1) In the case of any person who is both a solicitor and a notary public if his name is struck off the Roll of Solicitors or is removed from that Roll in pursuance of an order under any provision of this Act, the Council shall forthwith give notice of the striking off or removal to the Keeper of the Register of Notaries Public who shall thereupon strike the person's name off or, as the case may be remove it from, that register”.

There are provisions for the restoration to the Roll of Notaries of a name of a solicitor who is subsequently restored to the Roll of Solicitors.

Questions have been raised as to whether suspension from the practice of a solicitor in Scotland imports that that solicitor remains entitled to act as a notary public. It would appear that is so, subject however, to the Rules of Court 1965 r.11 where it is provided that a solicitor who is struck off or suspended from the Roll of Solicitors may also be struck off or suspended by the Court from the Roll of Notaries Public. The provisions of s.58 would also fall to be applied in such a circumstance. There is judicial authority for the deprivation of the office of notary public of a solicitor who has been struck off the Roll of Solicitors.

Republic of Ireland

Before making application for appointment as a notary public, the applicant must have obtained a certificate of examination and competency from the Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland in accordance with the Practice Direction of the Chief Justice made on 28 March 1994 pursuant to Order 127 of the Rules of the Superior Courts. This certificate is issued on the basis that the applicant has satisfied the Faculty upon examination that the applicant has acquired a sufficient knowledge of notarial law, practice and procedure to be a competent and efficient person to carry out the duties of a notary public. The examination is a written test as post graduate level in the subjects set down in the examination syllabus.

Pursuant to the Notaries Public Examination Regulations 2007, as amended, eligibility to sit the notarial examination of the Faculty is confined to a solicitor or barrister having not less that five years continuous post-qualification experience in the practice of the law.

The syllabus for the examination conducted under the Notaries Public Examination Regulations, 2007 (as amended) is as follows:-

1.    History of the Notary Public in Ireland

2.    Ethics for the Notary Public

3.     Private International Law

4.    Company Law

5.    Mercantile Law: Bills of Exchange

6.    Ships Protests

7.    International Conventions and EU Directives affecting Notaries Public

8.     Powers of Attorney

9.    Foreign and inter-country adoptions

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