Notary Public, Commissioner of Oaths & Lawyers – What’s the Difference?
Everybody has heard about notary publics, commissioners of oaths and lawyers. Yet, especially with the first two, people are often confused about the difference. Even with lawyers, it can be confusing to know which tasks they do and which they don’t.
Here’s a rule of thumb:
If it has something to do with documents or oaths, visit a notary public.
A lawyer will be your resource for any legal action, representation or advice. A commissioner of oaths usually as very specific (and limited) purpose; in most cases a notary public will cover the services required and more.
Some important differences to keep in mind
Notary publics can witness oaths – In Ontario, by way of the position they hold, notary publics are also commissioners of affidavits; affidavits, as we’ve mentioned elsewhere, require an oath to be made. This means that a notary public can fulfill the function of a commissioner of oaths.
Notaries can offer a broader range of services – In addition to attesting to an oath for an affidavit, notaries also offer affidavits of translations, notarize letters, verify names and signatures and much more. Often during documentation processes a number of different services are needed, so visiting a notary public is your best bet.
Lawyers are not automatically notary publics – Although a lawyer is legally able to commission oaths by the nature of his profession, he is not automatically eligible to perform full notary services. A lawyer can become a notary public more easily since they already have the knowledge.
An important concept for you to remember is this:
Even if your lawyer is certified as a notary, it’s still worth your while to have a dedicated notary working for you.
Why? Consider the following reasons:
- Notary fees are considerably less than lawyer fees
- It provides another professional who reviews any documents with you, working in your favour
- You will often need a notary for other purposes, so it is good to have one you always work with
In the end, there will be some overlap, but generally speaking you should have a trusted notary public to work with for documents, oaths and signatures. Just as you will have your lawyer who you turn to for legal advice and representation, you should choose a notary public whom you can contact easily for this kind of service.
If you need to provide an affidavit, swear an oath or verify a document, contact us at Golden Notary so we can provide you the reliable service you need.