In an increasingly connected world, the number of cross-border transactions have increased and this has created demand for notarial services in Singapore. Notaries Public in Singapore are usually experienced lawyers with at least 15 years of experience. Their activities are governed by the Notaries Public Act and they generally notarise documents that are to be used overseas and issue Notarial Certificates to show that the documents are valid and authentic. For example, a Power of Attorney to be used in a foreign country must be executed in the presence of a Notary Public in Singapore.
It is important to note that documents which require the witness of a Notary Public must be signed or executed in the presence of a Notary Public. This means that the documents should be signed in front of the Notary Public and not ahead of time. Also, the public should not expect Notaries Public to simply sign off documents which have not been personally witnessed by them as this can lead to direst consequences. For instance, a legal practitioner was recently suspended for 15 months by The Court of Three Judges for falsely attesting in a notarial certificate that he had witnessed the signing of a Power of Attorney which he had not in fact done so.
It is clear that legal practitioners have a duty to protect the public who are dependent on them in the administration of justice. However, the public may also wish to take the following precautions to ensure that their documents are properly notarised:
- Ensure that the Notary Public is registered. *Click here for the Singapore Notaries Public Directory;
- Bring unsigned documents to the Notary Public and avoid signing the documents ahead of time.
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