(1) Scope of Authority
- Commissioner for Oaths are authorised to witness and authenticate affidavits, statutory declarations, and other legal documents that are intended for use in Singapore only. They can also administer oaths and affirmations for documents required by local authorities, such as government agencies and legal proceedings within Singapore.
- Notary Publics have a broader scope of authority. They can notarise documents for use both in Singapore and internationally. Notary Publics are authorised to verify documents that may be used in foreign countries, such as contracts, deeds, powers of attorney, and various international legal documents. They can also witness and certify documents that require authentication for use abroad.
(2) Training and Qualifications:
- Commissioner for Oaths are typically lawyers who have been appointed by the Singapore Academy of Law after meeting specific qualifications and requirements. They undergo specific training related to their role and responsibilities.
- Notary Publics in Singapore are also usually lawyers who have been appointed as Notary Publics by the Board of Commissioners for Oaths and Notaries Public. They must meet certain qualifications and undergo additional training to become a Notary Public.
(3) Use of Official Seal:
- Commissioner for Oaths typically use a stamp or seal to authenticate documents they witness. This seal is recognised within Singapore.
- Notary Publics use a notarial seal or stamp that is recognised both in Singapore and internationally. The notarial seal signifies that the document has been properly authenticated and witnessed for use abroad.
- Commissioner for Oaths usually charge fees for their services. These can vary depending on the complexity of the document and the number of oaths or affirmations administered.
- Notary Publics fees are fixed by the Notaries Public Rules. This basically means that specific services have fixed prices irrelevant of which Notary Public you might engage. Offering discounts and waivers is not allowed. There is situations where one Notary Publics quote may differ from another, but this will not be due to the fixed fees that both parties must adhere too. Elements such as translation, transport to/from SAL for verification and such may create differences in pricing so there can be cases where seeking multiple quotes may make sense.