Notaries or Notary Publics were around before lawyers and recorded facts or events in history dating back to the Romans.
Essentially, this is what happens today. There are around 800 of us all appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the United Kingdom.
We have different functions round the world. In the USA for example, many notaries are not lawyers and just act as witnesses. However, in the UK and most civil law countries, we serve an important role in private and commercial transactions and legally give effect to these matters by authenticating documents for use in foreign countries. Our work can include property, probate, trademarks powers of attorney and verification of documents.
We are also separate from Solicitors in that we have our own governing body, code of conduct and record keeping procedures.
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