What's the difference between a public notary and a justice of the peace?

In Australia, the most important difference between a public notary and a justice of the peace is that a public notary is recognised overseas (ie, outside of Australia) while a justice of the peace is generally only recognised in Australia. The role of a public notary can be best described as an 'international justice of the peace'.

You are probably reading this page because you have a document that you need to send to India, and someone has asked for you to have it witnessed or certified by a public notary. In that case, signing it or having it certified by a justice of the peace may not be sufficient and will mean that your document may not be accepted in India.

Other important differences between a public notary and a justice of the peace are:
  • A public notary will generally charge a fee for their services while a justice of the peace cannot.
  • A public notary must be a lawyer, but not all lawyers are or must be notaries while a justice of the peace does not have to be a lawyer.
  • There are more justices of the peace than public notaries and generally justices of the peace can be easily found and more available than public notaries.

In our experience, most documents which are signed, witnessed or originate from Australia and sent to India will need to be notarised by a public notary but occasionally we are advised that documents can also be certified by a justice of the peace. For example, if you are signing documents to apply for a loan from a bank, the bank will generally need you to sign your application or the special/general power of attorney in front of us so that we can notarise it but that copies of other supporting documents (ie, identification, payslips, utility bills) can be certified by a justice of the peace. This may not apply in all cases, so before you engage our services or approach a justice of the peace, you should confirm the specific requirements.

Documents intended for India make up the clear majority of our public notary services. Accordingly, we are proud to announce that we frequently assist the local Indian community in Sydney to ensure that their documents are notarised and legally valid in India and maintain some of the lowest and most competitive rates available in Sydney.

To obtain a quote on our notary public services for India, please visit https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/notary-fees/.

Get quote to notarise Indian documents


This blog is supported and maintained by . Phang Legal is a leading provider of notary public services in Sydney. With offices conveniently located in Parramatta, Phang Legal supports and services the Indian community across Sydney with readily available and easily accessible notary public services at highly competitive rates.

For more information regarding notary public services for documents going to India, view our notary publications at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/jurisdiction/india-notary/.

Frequently asked questions regarding our notary public services can also be found at https://www.notary-parramatta.com.au/faqs/.

For Hindi to English translation services by NAATI accredited translators, see https://hindi-naati-translation.blogspot.com.au/.

Ern Phang
Notary Public

Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a notary public. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a notary public, including the kinds of problems and solutions that his clients face when sending documents to India.

IMPORTANT: the information in this article is correct at the time of publication, however the law constantly changes. This means you should always refer to the most recent articles because we try to update this blog on a regular basis with the most current information.