What is a Notary Public: Notaries Public in Singapore

Last updated on January 21, 2021

In Singapore, the number of notaries public number in the hundreds. A notary public must be a qualified lawyer. The Board of Commissioners for Oaths and Notaries Public appoints eligible lawyers as notaries public. These are usually experienced lawyers with no fewer than 15 years of experience. The Notaries Public Act sets out the rules regulating the activities of notaries public in Singapore.

Notaries public, acting as impartial officers, notarise documents, usually by witnessing, authenticating and certifying the execution of documents to be used in foreign countries. The need for notarisation usually arises when a person owns businesses and properties overseas and is involved in matters which require the execution of documents here in Singapore. Alternatively, notarisation may be needed when a person is involved in foreign litigation.

As proof of notarisation, a notarial certificate will be issued by the notary public to the client.

Services Rendered by the Notary Public

Services rendered by the notary public include:

  1. General notarisation of documents;
  2. Attesting the signature and execution of documents such as deeds, contracts, powers of attorney, incorporation documents, property transfers, IPR assignments, and other instruments that are to be used abroad;
  3. Administer any oath or affirmation in connection with any affidavit or statutory declaration, take or attest any affidavit or statutory declaration;
  4. Certifying true copies – which may include marriage and birth certificates and the like. When certifying true copies, a notary simply has to ensure that the copies are indeed true copies of the original. This is done by a visual comparison of the original documents with the copies;
  5. Protesting bills of exchange; and
  6. Entering a ship’s protest.

Legalisation of Document

Documents for use abroad may need to go through a further process of legalisation. As of 20 January 2021, the Singapore Academy of Law has taken over the legalisation process from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The exact legalisation process depends on whether the document in question is issued by the Singapore government, or whether it is in hardcopy or softcopy. However, it will involve making an appointment with the Singapore Academy of Law to have the document legalised.

You may refer to our other article for more information on the legalisation process in Singapore.

Fees Payable to the Notary Public

The fees payable to notaries public are fixed by the law and depend on what service you are engaging the notary public for.

Generally, you will have to pay fees for:

  • The notary public’s service;
  • The issuance of a notarial certificate; and for
  • Authentication of the notarised document with the Singapore Academy of Law.

See here for more information on fees for notarial services in Singapore.