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What is Notary Public? Difference between Public and Private Notary Services

A Notary Public is a public official who plays a crucial role in the legal and business sectors. Notaries are responsible for performing various official acts, including witnessing the signing of important documents, administering oaths, and verifying the identities of parties involved in transactions. Notaries serve as impartial witnesses, ensuring the authenticity and legality of documents. There are two types of Notaries Public: Public Notaries and Private Notaries. Below is an in-depth explanation of both, highlighting their differences and key responsibilities.

Why You Need a Notary Public in the UAE for Legal Documents

Notarizing a document is a process that has many benefits in the UAE. Some of these benefits are:

  • It protects against fraud and ensures the document’s legal and authentic status. A notarized document is considered to be a true and accurate representation of its contents under the law. This means that it is very difficult to challenge or dispute its validity unless there is evidence of forgery.
  • It enhances the document’s credibility and enforceability. Many documents are not legally binding in the UAE unless they are notarised by a public notary. This makes them more reliable and trustworthy for the parties involved.
  • It provides a backup copy of the original document if needed by the parties or the law. A notary public can also make a certified copy of the original document with the required stamps that legalise it.

When Do You Need a Notary Public in the UAE?

There are many cases in the UAE where you may require a notarized document. Some examples are:

  • Power of Attorney: This is a document that authorises a person to act on behalf of another person in legal matters. For example, if a person wants to hire a lawyer to represent him or her in court, the lawyer needs to have a notarized Power of Attorney from the client.
  • Ownership contract: This is a document that defines the rights and obligations of the members of a family who share a common property. For instance, if a family in Dubai wants to manage their family’s joint ownership, they need to notarise their ownership contract.
  • Eviction Notice: This is a document that informs a tenant that they have to vacate the premises within a specified period. For example, if a landlord wants to evict a tenant, they have to send them a notarised eviction notice. Otherwise, the notice is invalid and cannot be legally enforced.

In the UAE, you can get a document notarised through a public notary or a private notary. A public notary is a government official who works at the court or the Ministry of Justice, while a private notary is a lawyer who is licensed to perform notarial acts.

You should also: All you need to know about Public and Private Notary in UAE

What Does a Notary Public Do in the UAE?

A Notary Public is a person who is authorized to perform certain legal formalities, such as verifying and witnessing the signing of documents, administering oaths, and certifying copies. The duties of a Notary Public vary depending on the type of document and the jurisdiction, but some common duties are:

  • Verifying the identity of the parties who sign the document, either by checking their identification documents or by personal knowledge.
  • Witnessing the signing of the document and ensuring that the parties sign it freely and willingly, without any coercion or fraud.
  • Administering an oath or affirmation to the parties, if required by the document or the law, and ensuring that they understand the contents and consequences of the document.
  • Placing the official seal and signature of the Notary Public on the document, indicating the date and place of notarization, and recording the details of the notarial act in a journal or register.
  • Providing a certified copy of the original document, if requested by the parties or required by the law.

Public vs Private Notaries in the UAE: What You Need to Know

Public Notaries are government-appointed officials with specific powers and duties related to legal and official documents. They are typically appointed by the government and have the authority to perform a wide range of notarial acts. Public Notaries are essential in ensuring the integrity of documents and transactions within the legal framework of a country. Their key responsibilities include:

  • Writing Contracts and Instruments: Public Notaries draft and authenticate various contracts and legal instruments as required by law.
  • Authentication of Signatures: They authenticate the signatures of individuals on common law documents upon request, ensuring the legitimacy of the signatures.
  • Proving the Date of Instruments: Public Notaries validate the dates of common law documents and provide certificates proving the date of submission.
  • Putting to Oath, Writing, and Authenticating Sworn Statements: They administer oaths and write, and authenticate sworn statements after verifying the identities and capacities of the concerned individuals.
  • Placing the Writ of Execution: Public Notaries affix the writ of execution on instruments they have written or authenticated, facilitating legal enforcement.
  • Maintaining Records: Public Notaries maintain meticulous records of transactions, including original documents and related information.

Private Notary Dubai

Private Notaries, on the other hand, operate within the private sector. They are professionals authorized to perform notarial acts but do not hold government appointments. Private Notaries are typically experienced individuals with legal backgrounds, such as lawyers or legal consultants. They provide notarial services for specific transactions, often in legal firms or private practices. Their key responsibilities include:

  • Authorization: Private Notaries are authorized to carry out notarial acts based on their experience and qualifications, often after approval by a regulatory body.
  • Specific Transactions: They handle specific transactions, such as real estate deals, legal agreements, and contracts, ensuring their legality and authenticity.
  • Supervision: Private Notaries operate under strict supervision, ensuring compliance with legal regulations and ethical standards.
  • Registration: Private Notaries are registered professionals, listed in official records, and adhere to specific guidelines set by regulatory authorities.

What are the Differences Between Public and Private Notaries in the UAE?

AspectPublic NotaryPrivate Notary
AuthorityPublic employee appointed at the Ministry Private Notary PublicPrivate professional, is licensed to exercise Notary Public works and is not appointed by the government
Scope of AuthorityBroad, can perform various notarial actsLimited, handles specific transactions within the expertise
RegulationRegulated by government agenciesRegulated by professional bodies and associations within the field of expertise
AppointmentAppointed by government authoritiesWorks independently or within legal firms after meeting specific qualifications and requirements
Typical DutiesWriting contracts, authenticating signatures, proving dates, putting to oath, and moreHandling specific legal transactions, ensuring their authenticity and legality
SupervisionGovernment oversight, strict compliance with laws and regulationsMay be supervised by professional bodies and adhere to ethical standards within their field
Notarial ActsCan perform a wide range of notarial actsFocuses on specific transactions within professional expertise

E-Notary by Notary Public and Private in Dubai

  • E-notary is a smart and innovative service that allows people to complete their notarization transactions online without visiting the notary public branches. E-notary is offered by both public and private notaries in Dubai, who are licensed and regulated by the Dubai Courts.
  • E-notary services include attestation of power of attorneys, acknowledgements, legal warnings, and other documents that require notarization. E-notary services are convenient, fast, secure, and cost-effective. 
  • To use E-notary services, one needs to register on the Dubai Courts website or contact a private notary firm and upload the required documents in PDF format.  E-notary services are recognized by the authorities in the UAE and can be attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if needed. E-notary is a great example of how Dubai is transforming into a smart city by providing innovative and flexible solutions for its residents and visitors.

HHS Lawyers and Legal Consultants have a team of qualified and experienced lawyers who can handle any type of private notary service in Dubai. They can also advise you on the legal implications and consequences of the notarised documents. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Hazim Darwish

Hazim Darwish, is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.