U Mya Thein B.A.,B.L.
A Notary Public or Notary or Public Notary of the common law system is a public officer appointed by law to serve in matters usually concerned with deeds, powers-of-attorney, protest to be made in local or in foreign.
A Notary’s main functions are to witness, authenticate the execution of certain classes of documents, protest notes and bills of exchange, prepare marine or ship’s protest in cases of damage, translate, provide notarial copies, and perform certain other official acts depending on the law of the country. Any such act is known as a notarization. The term Notary Public refers to common law Notaries.
Notaries are appointed by a government authority, such as Supreme Court or Lieutenant governor, or by a regulating body often known as society or faculty of Notaries Public. For lawyer notaries, an appointment may be for life, while lay notaries are usually appointed for a short term, with the possibility of renewal.
In most common law countries, appointments and their number for notarial districts are regulated and restricted.
However, since the majority of American notaries are lay persons who provide officially required services, numbers are not regulated, which is part of the reason why there are far more notaries in the United States than in other countries. Furthermore, all U.S. and some Canadian notarial functions are applied to domestic affairs and documents, where fully systematized attestations of signatures and acknowledgment of deeds are a universal requirement for document authentication.
By contrast, outside North American common law jurisdictions, notarial practice is restricted to international legal matters or where a foreign jurisdiction is involved, and almost all notaries are qualified lawyers.
For the purposes of authentication, most countries require commercial or personal documents which originate from or are signed in another country to be notarized before they can be used or officially recorded or before they can have any legal effect.
To these documents a notary affixes a notary certificate which attests to the execution of the document.
It has a long and distinguished history of Notary Publics. The office has its origin in the civil institutions of ancient Rome. Public officials, called scribae, that is to say, scribes, rose in rank from being mere recorders of facts and judicial proceedings, copiers and transcribers to a learned profession prominent in private and public affairs. Some were permanent officials attached to the Senate and courts of law whose duties were to record public proceedings, transcribe state papers, supply magistrates with legal documents, and register the decrees and judgments of magistrates.
In the last century of the Republic, probably in the time of Cicero, and apparently by his adoptive son Marcus Tullius Tiro, after whom they were named ‘notae Tironianae’ a new form of shorthand was invented and certain arbitrary marks and signs, called notae, were substituted for words in common use. A writer who adopted the new method was called a notarius. Later, the title notarius was applied almost exclusively to registrars attached to high government officials, including provincial governors and secretaries to the Emperor.
In Myanmar, Notary Publics may be appointed by S.138 and rule making by S.139 of the Negotiable Instrument Act 1881.Very recently many notary publics were appointed by the Supreme Court of the Union of Myanmar which we should heartily welcome. Nowadays, foreign business transactions become higher and higher. Foreign business partners come to and fro. More Notary Publics are needed in the development of international trade and industry. Myanmar citizens go out for work and foreign expatriates need to come in. So Notary Publics become valuable assets for our country to promote trade and industry in the market oriented economy of a democratic forwarding country.
Notary Public has to carry out some kinds of work:
1. Attestation to the Authenticity of signatures.
2. Certification of copies.
3. Certification of photos of person.
4. Attestation of documents and facts.
5. Notings and Protests in accord with law.
6. Translation of documents.
7. Statement attached to documents.
8. Others Notary duties in accordance with law of the country.
Notary Public must have an office, phone numbers, a notary logo round seal, a seal of a notary public‘s name and office address and Myanmar and English signatures. These specimens together with the copy have to be filed with the Supreme Court of the Union of Myanmar. The recognition process will be carried out by the Supreme Court with the Ministry of Foreign affairs for Myanmar embassies in foreign countries.
Most of the countries over the world have already enacted Notary Public Act and Rules relating to, qualifications, appointment of Notary Publics, powers and duties, standard rate of fees, action to be taken to Notary Publics and so on.
Till now Myanmar has no specific Notary Public Act and Rules which we should consider to enact. It would be the right and proper time to promulgate at this democratic dawn with start rising market economy.