Becoming a Notary Public in Jamaica

In Jamaica, a Notary Public is an Attorney-at-Law with a standing of at least ten years.  A Notary Public is authorized to authenticate contracts, acknowledge deeds, take affidavits, protest bills of exchange, and take depositions. The Ministry of Justice administers the process of appointment of Attorneys-at-law who are recommended for appointment as Notaries Public in keeping with the Notaries Public Act. Appointments are made depending on the needs of any particular parish.  The Supreme Court of Jamaica keeps the record/roll of Notaries Public.

Procedure for the Appointment of Notaries Public

In making a selection, the qualifications of all candidates are considered; great weight is given to the public’s convenience, where the applicant’s practice is located and where the new appointment is required.

  • An Applicant for appointment as a Notary Public is required to submit to the Governor General’s Office his/her application along with two Certificates of Fitness, to practice as a Notary, signed by 2 existing Notaries or practicing Attorneys-at-Law of not less than 10 years standing.
  • The application is then forwarded to the Ministry of Justice which has the responsibility to refer the application to the Chief Justice, who will request a confidential report on the applicant from the Society of Notaries Public.
  • If the application appears suitable, the applicant’s name will be placed on a waiting list.
  • When a vacancy occurs, or the public interest requires the appointment of another Notary, a selection of a candidate for appointment will be made from this list depending on the date of application.
  • The Minister of Justice will then cause the Writ of Dedimus and the Commission for the successful applicant to be prepared and sent to the Governor General for signature.

When this process is completed, the applicant will be advised of the outcome and the required formalities for appointment will be effected.

The Writ of Dedimus and Commission authorizes Notaries Public to discharge their duties. Newly appointed Notaries Public are required to sign on the Roll of Notaries Public at the Registry of the Supreme Court, this is to ensure that their signature can be authenticated whenever the need arises.