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20 September 2023

What is a Notary Public?

Table of Contents

A Notary or Notary Public is a specialist admitted attorney. In order to make an application to be admitted as a Notary by the High Court of South Africa, you must:

  1. Be admitted as an attorney; and
  2. Have passed the practical examination in respect of the practice, functions and duties of a Notary.

The Notaries of today originate from the scribes during early Hebrew, Greek and Egyptian times. The first Notary in South Africa was appointed in 1672.

The office of a Notary is a highly respected office of trust and the basic qualification of expertise is higher than that of an ordinary attorney.

Certain documents are required by law to be drawn by a Notary. The most common of these documents include:

  • Antenuptial Contracts;
  • Long Term Leases;
  • Servitudes (personal and praedial);
  • Cession of Rights in Sectional Title Schemes; and
  • Notarial Bonds.


A Notary is further tasked to:

  • Administer the oath or affirmation;
  • Witness and authenticate the execution of documents for use inside and outside of South Africa;
  • Protest Bills of Exchange;
  • Prepare Ship Protests; and
  • Certify Documents as True Copies.


Southey Attorneys Incorporated offer a full range of Notarial Document services visit the Notarial Services page to find out more.

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