About eight hundred years ago it was appreciated that there was a need to have documents intended to be used in a foreign country authenticated by a public official, so that they could be accepted in evidence abroad without further proof of authenticity. The first notaries in England were appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury by faculty and even today the Faculty Office comes under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop.
The function of a Notary Public is to
- attest the execution and signature of documents;
- authenticate the execution of documents;
- administer oaths and declarations and many other less familiar and more specialised documents
- but all for use outside England and Wales
Because a Notary Public is the holder of a public office, his signature and seal on a document ,which is called notarisation, is the evidence of a responsible officer and as such the document will be recognised in most countries of the world without any further formal verification called legalisation.