BC Notaries provide non-contentious legal services to the public. They are governed by the Notaries Act of BC and the discipline of their professional society: BC Notaries Society. The position of Notary is one of the branches of the legal profession and is sanctioned and safeguarded by law.
BC Notaries are proud members of a select group of legal professionals commissioned by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. They are highly trained legal advisors that provide non-contentious legal services. These services include land law and personal planning which include Wills, Powers of Attorney, Representation Agreements, and Advance Directives.
The tradition of Notaries goes back over 2000 years. Notaries laid down the Codex Hammurabi, the oldest evidence of recorded law. Notaries were also employed by the Catholic Church to guide the light of civilization through the Dark Ages. The Notary’s reputation for trustworthiness meant that documents retained a stable reliability throughout centuries of upheaval.
Throughout history, Notaries have been recognized as individuals of impeccable integrity practicing in a Tradition of Trust. A Notary's word, signature, and red Notary Seal are time - honoured testaments to the character and skill of these caring professionals: NOTARIES WORD IS AS GOOD AS GOLD.
What is the difference between a Lawyer and a Notary Public in British Columbia?
The easy answer is that Notaries do not represent clients in court and cannot act for clients in litigation matters. The Notary’s work is restricted to certain non-contentious legal matters
where those involved are in general agreement and have common goals to complete a transaction of some kind.
Lawyers have no legislative restrictions and Notaries can only provide legal advice and services in matters
that fall within the scope of the authority given to them in the BC Notaries Act.
Education requirements for British Columbia notaries and lawyers are similar. Both are required to obtain a university degree and then a law degree. Lawyers obtain a J.D. (formerly LL.B). Notaries obtain a MA ALS (Master of Arts, Applied Legal Studies). While these two degrees are not the same, they are both legal education degrees. After obtaining these degrees, both have to complete a professional practical legal training course and article (for lawyers) or mentor (for notaries) for a period of time before they can provide their legal services to the public.
Notaries and lawyers both provide legal services in the areas of wills, personal planning, and real estate residential conveyancing among other services. Both run professional practices with support staff. No other professionals can provide these services to the general public for a fee. The reason for this is that lawyers and notaries are regulated for standards and insured for errors and omissions. The regulation and insurance protections for lawyers and notaries are very similar. The purpose of both is to protect the public. If a lawyer or notary makes an error or is negligent, the Law Society and the Society of Notaries requires their members to carry insurance to cover damages incurred by the client.