All notary public in Hong Kong are solicitors. Although there are thousands of solicitors in Hong Kong, the number of notaries is less than 400. You might therefore find it difficult to find a notary.
Notary system in Hong Kong basically follows that in England. A notary public (or notary or public notary) is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with:
- powers-of-attorney, and
- foreign and international business.
A Hong Kong notary's main functions are to:
- administer oaths and affirmations,
- take affidavits,
- take statutory declarations,
- witness and authenticate the execution of certain classes of documents,
- take acknowledgments of deeds and other conveyances,
- protest notes and bills of exchange,
- provide notice of foreign drafts,
- prepare marine or ship's protests in cases of damage,
- provide exemplifications and notarial copies, and
- perform certain other official acts.
Any such act is known as a notarization. The term notary public only refers to common-law notaries and should not be confused with civil-law notaries.
An example of a notarized acknowledgment Documents certified by notaries are sealed with the notary's seal or stamp and are recorded by the notary in a register (also called a "protocol") maintained and permanently kept by him or her. These are known as "notarial acts".
Apostille and Legalization
In countries subscribing to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents or Apostille Convention, only one further act of certification is required, known as an apostille, and is issued by a government department (usually the Foreign Affairs Department or similar). For countries which are not subscribers to that convention, an "authentication" or "legalization" must be provided by one of a number of methods, including by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the country from which the document is being sent or the embassy, Consulate-General, consulate or High Commission of the country to which it is being sent.