INSTITUTE OF NOTARIAL STUDIES
(A Division of the Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland)
Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice (Dip.Not.L.) (F.N.P.I)
Academic Year August 2023 – June 2024
At the graduation ceremony for candidate notaries of the Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice (Dip.Not.L.) (F.N.P.I.) of the Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland (‘the Faculty’) and the Institute of Notarial Studies (‘the Institute’) in the Law Society, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7, in January 2022 were: The Hon Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell, Chief Justice, Dean Mary Casey, Deputy Dean Nigel Allen , Course Director Iain Ostrowski-Rogers of the Institute of Notarial Studies, Secretary of the Faculty, Michael Moran, Registrar of the Faculty Ross Mc Mahon, members of the Governing Council of the Faculty and the graduates. [Credit: Tutor Print]
The Notary in Ireland
The notary is a public officer, constituted and appointed by the Chief Justice of Ireland, on petition in open court, after a course of part time study delivered through online and in-person learning over the period of one year. The notary is the oldest of the three legal professions in Ireland and shares many of the functions of the solicitor and barrister with the exception of the conduct of contentious business and, by virtue of a rule of the Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland (‘the Faculty’), the notary (qua notary) does not hold client monies.
Postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice Dip.Not.L. (F.N.P.I)
The postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice designated as Dip.Not.L. (F.N.P.I.) (‘the Diploma’) for candidate notaries is now in its twelfth session. The Diploma course for the academic year 2023-2024 will be held remotely via multi-modal delivery (a mix of assigned reading, live lecture/ video and other learning strategies) with three on-site workshop sessions to take place provisionally at the Law Society, Blackhall Place, Dublin 7 or other suitable venue (subject to confirmation).
The Notary: Address of Chief Justice
The former Chief Justice, The Hon. Mrs Justice Susan Denham, at the conferring ceremony of the Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice, Dip.Not.L. (F.N.P.I), in June 2014 addressing the Faculty and the recipients of the postgraduate diploma said:
This is a day of celebration for the Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland. I commend the Faculty for having the vision to underpin Ireland’s oldest legal profession with a strong educational foundation.
The Notary Public counts among the most ancient and respected of professions. It can be traced to the scribes of Ancient Egypt and the tabelliones of Rome. Notarii became secretaries to the Roman Emperor and leading Church figures ….
The notary is the oldest surviving branch of the legal profession. It requires knowledge of many facets of domestic and international law. The profession requires intellect and being well versed in the art of writing. A notary is a public officer of the civil order, appointed by the State to carry out the functions associated with that office in non-contentious legal matters.
Notaries Public are important to Irish commerce and trade, which has a European and international element. Irish people travel all over the globe and Ireland welcomes other nationalities to its shores in a variety of circumstances; this human interaction requires the notarisation of documents and the skill and expertise of the Notary is called upon. The notary provides a valuable service to those seeking his/her skill and is a respected and trusted figure of the State of Ireland.
…. The notary of the twenty-first century must deal with many new developments such as Hague Conventions and EU law matters. However, the characteristics that are desired in a notary remain the same as they were described over the centuries. Richard Brooke, author of the first edition of a well-known work on notaries in England and Wales in his Treatise on the Office and Practice of a Notary of England (1839) wrote:
‘Great is the confidence reposed in notaries and onerous are their duties. Hence the necessity of their being distinguished for extensive knowledge, probity, discretion and zeal.’
The Diploma for Candidate Notaries and Entry to the Profession of Notary
The Notarial Professional Course is aligned with the Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice Dip.Not.L. (F.N.P.I) and is the entry route to the profession of Notary Public for suitably qualified candidate notaries.
There are three stages in the process of appointment as a Notary Public in Ireland.
First, the candidate notary must comply with the relevant provisions of the Notaries Public Education, Training and Examination Regulations 2007-2021 (‘the regulations’) (available on www.notarypublic.ie). In particular, candidate notaries must, at the date of application to sit the Faculty Examination (June 21st 2024) (as set out in the regulations) be practising solicitors or barristers, have not less than five years post-qualification experience in the general practice of the law and at least two consecutive years of the general practice of law must be in the period immediately preceding the application to sit the Faculty Examination.
Second, the candidate notary must attend the Notarial Professional Course/Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice, Dip.Not.L. (F.N.P.I) at present extended over one academic year from September to July and be so certified. The course will be held remotely in the main part which will allow flexibility for candidate notaries. The purpose of the course is to encompass all relevant areas of notarial practice and prepare candidate notaries for practice as a Notary. Assessments and quizzes will be set during the course to assist with engagement and will be based on situations that candidate notaries can expect to deal with in practice.
Third, the candidate notary must be in ‘good standing’ with the Law Society or the Bar Council and produce a certificate to that effect.
As stated above, the Notarial Professional Course and the postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice are aligned together, leading to the award of the postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice – designated as Dip.Not.L. (F.N.P.I). This course is provided by the Institute of Notarial Studies (‘the Institute’), a division of the Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland (‘the Faculty’) which was founded by the late Dr. Eamonn Hall in 2012.
There are twelve topics on the Notarial Professional Course/Diploma Course.
The Faculty Examination / Diploma examination is scheduled for 21st June 2024 with a resit examination to be scheduled during July/August 2024 if needed. If the candidate notary is successful, he or she moves to the third stage in the process of appointment. Success at the Diploma/Faculty Examination does not guarantee appointment as a Notary Public.
The third stage of the process of appointment as a Notary Public involves a formal petition to the Chief Justice of Ireland in open court on a Notice of Motion (to which the Faculty is a notice party as is the Law Society of Ireland) on which court fees are payable in the usual way and to be advised to petitioners by the Registrar of the Supreme Court . The Chief Justice decides on petitions for appointment and who should or should not be appointed. The admission criteria summarised here are without prejudice to any further directions which the Chief Justice and the Faculty may make from time to time.
Notaries are commissioned for life to serve as a Notary Public for the county in which they intend to practice. Candidates may petition to be commissioned to serve in counties contiguous to their ‘home’ county also. While all notaries appointed by the Chief Justice act as Notaries Public of Ireland, we are prohibited from acting as such in counties other than those for which we have been commissioned to serve.
Successful petitioners may expect in due course to receive a letter from the Registrar of the Supreme Court enclosing their Warrant of Appointment written in both official languages, duly signed and sealed by the Chief Justice and in which the Registrar will confirm a request of the Chief Justice to point out to each newly commissioned notary the extreme importance of the functions they have undertaken in accepting appointment as a Notary Public and the care with which these must be exercised.
The Registrar will have been requested by the Chief Justice also to point out to each new Notary Public that in many instances, agencies outside the State will have their first knowledge of the standards of legal and official acts in Ireland from the documents which will reach them, that have been produced by them as Notaries Public or to the execution of which they have been an attesting witness and that it is therefore, vital that all the necessary requirements of any such acts and documents be exactly complied with.
New notaries may expect the Registrar to further state that the Chief Justice has particularly requested that each new Notary Public should apply to the Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland for membership and to request an up-to-date guide or handbook on the functions and duties of Notaries Public of Ireland and that he urges them in cases of doubt in the future to apply to that Faculty for any assistance they might require.
Candidate notaries should consult the Rules of the Superior Courts, the Courts Service website, and Hall & O’Connor, The Notary of Ireland: Law and Practice (2018) about the formal petition. The Registrar of the Faculty, Mr Ross McMahon (email@example.com) will also provide a precedent Notice of Motion and Petition, etc., to course participants.
Where a candidate notary is an employed solicitor, including an in-house counsel for a corporation, or a partner in a law firm, a requirement (inter alia) is a letter from the relevant employer’s Chief Executive Officer, or managing partner, consenting to the relevant candidate notary proceeding with the petition. There is also the issue of a facility to meet appearers.
An employed candidate notary or a partner in a law firm must also undertake never to notarise documents for his/her employer or law firm and there is a corresponding undertaking required from the firm/corporation never to seek notarial services in connection with a matter in which the employer/corporation is involved.
Barristers are eligible to become a notary but are not permitted by the Bar Council to practise as a notary from a desk in the Law Library. The Bar Council also requires barristers to keep fees earned as a barrister separate from notarial fees.
There may be other requirements which may prove to be an impediment about appointment and the candidate notary should familiarise himself/herself with all the requirements to avoid disappointment.
The fee for existing notaries and candidate notaries for the Notarial Professional Course/Diploma in Notarial Law & Practice 2023-2024 is inclusive of a textbook, digital lecture notes (provided by the Institute of Notarial Studies), examination fees and the graduation ceremony followed by a reception for the graduand and guests. The fee is set out on the relevant Application Form and is €6,500.00 for candidate notaries payable in advance.
If awarded the diploma, the designation Dip.Not.L. (F.N.P.I) may be used on the notary’s professional literature.
An application form is available from firstname.lastname@example.org on request.
There will be an Information Webinar hosted via Zoom on at a date to be fixed in July 2023. A link to the recording of the 2022 webinar is available and will be sent to those who register their interest.
Applications and all payments to be made in respect of this year’s course no later than close of business on Friday 28th July 2023.
DETAILS OF MODULES
The Notarial Professional Course
The Diploma in Notarial law & Practice (Dip.Not.L.) (F.N.P.I.)
All Dates and times Provisional and may be subject to change
INTRODUCTION TO THE DIPLOMA COURSE
Friday 18 August 2023: 3.30pm – 5.30pm
Delivered online – Training will be provided in relation to the use of the Moodle online learning platform.
1.5hrs – To take place the week of the 14th August – Times TBC (Lunchtime)
Topic 1 – THE OFFICE OF NOTARY PUBLIC
Release date: Monday, 21 August 2023
- the origins of the office of notary
- the development of the profession from its origins through to the modern day
- the commonalities and differences in the notarial profession around the world
- developing an understanding of the requirements for appointment as a notary public in Ireland
- associating the general principles of regulating the notarial profession with the practicalities of offering service to the public
Roman/Civil Law – the origins of notaries and the rediscovery of Roman Law in the medieval era
Private International Law – the appointment and regulation of notaries internationally, the UINL, the CLAN, the UK and Ireland notarial forum
Topic 2 – PERSONAL IDENTITY AND CAPACITY
Release date: Monday, 04 September 2023
- understanding the law on names and changes of name
- appreciating how one person may have more than one name and/or a name that may be spelled in different ways
- initial insights into how names are dealt with in foreign jurisdictions
- increasing familiarity with the record-keeping requirements for notaries with regard to a client’s identity
Roman/Civil Law – names and capacity in the Roman Empire and modern civil-law concepts of personal identity and capacity
Private International Law – recognition of notarial acts internationally – apostilles and consular legalisation
Online workshop 1: Notarial certificates of life
Monday, 18 September 2023, 3-5pm
Topic 3 – OATHS, AFFIDAVITS, AFFIRMATIONS AND DECLARATIONS
Release date: Monday, 02 October 2023
- revising the law on administration of oaths and affirmations
- practical preparation for the administration of oaths to deponents of different religions and with different requirements
- distinguishing between affidavits, statutory declarations, witness statements, and other forms of documentary evidence
- gaining familiarity with affidavits, statutory declarations and other forms of documentary evidence in other common-law jurisdictions
- developing an appreciation of the different approach to documentary evidence adopted in civil-law jurisdictions
- assessing the data protection aspects of dealing with affidavits (special categories of personal data)
Roman/Civil Law – the nature of litigation in Rome and perjury
Private International Law – different concepts of criminal liability for declarations
IN-PERSON WORKSHOP 1
Wednesday, 11th October 2023 – 9.00-13.00 (Provisionally)
Venue – Presidents Hall – Law Society
- Various situations involving the authentication of powers of attorney by individuals
- Verification of identity and capacity
- Document analysis
- Communications with the enquirer
- Language issues
- Drafting public-form notarial acts
- Drafting notarial certificates
- Completing notarial acknowledgments
- Acting as notarial witness
- Notarial accoutrements and document security
Topic 4 – NOTARIAL WORK FOR THE USA
Release date: Monday, 16 October 2023
- gaining practical tips for dealing with instructions relating to transactions in the USA
- understanding the nature of a notarial acknowledgment and the role of witnesses
- reviewing examples from practice of acknowledgments and affidavits for US matters
- further consideration of the Hague Apostille Convention
- developing techniques for risk assessment and risk management in notarial practice
Roman/Civil Law – the relevance of Roman Law in the USA (Louisiana, adoption of civil codes, civil-law notaries)
Private International Law – internal PIL in the USA, federal matters, reception of Irish notarial acts and apostille
Online workshop 2: Dealing with notarial acknowledgments and oaths for US documents in practice
Monday, 6 November 2023: 3-5pm
Topic 5 – DIRECT NOTARIAL CERTIFICATES TO POWERS OF ATTORNEY ISSUED BY INDIVIDUALS
Release date: Monday, 13 November 2023
- identifying circumstances in which a direct notarial certificate is the appropriate form of notarial act
- preparation of a template for a direct notarial certificate, including appropriate contact and regulatory information
- formulation of a standard description of a notary within a notarial certificate
- further practice with analysing documents produced by clients
- initial drafting practice for the preparation of direct notarial certificates
Roman/Civil Law – development of the law of agency
Private International Law – the applicable law for powers of attorney, choice-of-law and jurisdiction clauses
Guest Lecture: Topic TBC
Monday, 13 November 2023: 3-5pm
Topic 6 – PUBLIC-FORM NOTARIAL ACTS AND DEALING WITH FOREIGN LANGUAGES, SUCCESSION
Release date: Monday, 27 November 2023
- understanding the distinction between notarial acts in the public and private forms
- recognising different forms of notarial act
- the role of the Irish notary in converting a draft document into a public-form notarial act
- the authentication of wills and other testamentary instruments
- dealing with instructions relating to the deceased
- dealing with personal representatives and demonstrating their authority to foreign lawyers and other recipients of notarial acts
Roman/Civil Law – the origin and use of authentic instruments in modern civil-law systems; inheritance in Roman law and modern civil-law systems
Private International Law – cross-border enforcement of authentic instruments under the Brussels I Regulation and the Lugano Convention; the EU Succession Regulation and the common-law rules for international succession
Topic 7 – NOTARIAL ACTS FOR COMPANIES – IDENTIFICATION OF COMPANIES
Release date: Monday, 15 January 2024
- navigating website of the Companies Registration Office
- basic details of a company – name, type, registration number, registered office
- matters of registration under the Companies Act 2014
- filings at the CRO
- the records maintained by a company
- introduction to insolvency procedures for companies
- striking off and restoration to the register
- drafting notarial certificates verifying the identity of a company
Roman/Civil Law – the “societas” and its development, and types of company in civil-law jurisdictions
Private International Law – differences in company-law concepts and the cross-border recognition of company identity and status, redomiciliation, pan-national corporations, the European public limited-liability company, and cross-border mergers
Topic 8 – COMPANY DECISION-MAKING: MEMBERS AND DIRECTORS
Release date: Monday, 29 January 2024
- CRO filings and the register of members
- general meetings and resolutions in writing
- record-keeping and evidence
- directors’ meetings and resolutions in writing
- attending meetings as a notary
- authenticating minutes and written resolutions
- drafting supporting board resolutions for notarial instructions
Roman/Civil Law – the management of companies in civil-law jurisdictions and the concept of “representation” (Vertretung)
Private International Law – the Irish company as “parent” company in respect of a foreign subsidiary, and the Irish company as a subsidiary of a foreign “parent” company
Topic 9 – POWER OF ATTORNEY AND OTHER AGENCY DOCUMENTS ISSUED BY COMPANIES AND OTHER ENTITIES
Release date: Monday, 12 February 2024
- an overview of powers of attorney and other agency documents issued by Irish companies
- Section 41 of the Companies Act 2014 and the constitution of a company
- dealing with an attorney-in-fact of an Irish company as a notary
- interpretation of authorities
- sub-delegation and substitution
- notarial authentication of powers of attorney – public-form notarial acts, notarial certificates, acknowledgments and attestations
- corporate attorneys – an Irish company acting as attorney and the execution of documents and deeds
Roman/Civil Law – an outline of the appointment of agents and an agent’s duties in modern civil-law jurisdictions
Private International Law – the appointment of agents in cross-border scenarios, different concepts of agent appointments and potential conflicts of terminology
Online workshop 3: Identifying companies in practice and preparing notarial certificates verifying a company’s existence and identity; attending meetings and dealing with minutes and resolutions in writing
Monday, 19 February 2024: 3-5pm
Topic 10 – COMPANY INSOLVENCY PROCEDURES
Release date: Monday, 4 March 2024
- an overview of corporate insolvency procedures
- checking the capacity of an Irish company in practice
- dealing with insolvency practitioners as a notary
- authenticating the appointment of a liquidator, examiner or receiver
- authenticating documents and deeds executed by a liquidator, examiner or receiver
Roman/Civil Law – the concept of insolvency in Roman law and in modern civil-law jurisdictions
Private International Law – the recognition of Irish insolvency proceedings in the EU and elsewhere, and the recognition of foreign insolvency proceedings in Ireland
Online workshop 4: Powers of attorney granted by companies
Monday, 11 March 2024: 3-5pm
Guest Lecture: Topic TBC
Wednesday, 20 March 2024: 3-5pm
IN-PERSON WORKSHOP 2
- Various scenarios taken from practice
- Sample instructions and communications
- Analysis of documents presented by appearers
- Preparing notarial acts in various forms
- Obtaining apostilles and consular legalisation
- Electronic signatures and electronic notarial acts
- Preparation for Supreme Court petition / application
Topic 11 – DEALING WITH FOREIGN COMPANIES
Release date: Monday, 22 April 2024
- sources of information and research into foreign companies
- the definition of an “external company” in the Companies Act 2014
- the authority of a representative of a foreign company
- defensive drafting
- collaboration with lawyers and notaries in the place of incorporation of the foreign company
Roman/Civil Law – representative offices and branches of Irish companies in civil-law jurisdictions
Private International Law – an overview of arbitration clauses, jurisdiction clauses, governing law clauses, and governing languages clauses, in cross-border company matters
Topic 12 – PROTESTING BILLS OF EXCHANGE AND DRAWING UP SHIP PROTESTS
Release date: Monday, 29 April 2024
- the use of bills of exchange in international trade transactions
- drawing a bill of exchange
- types of indorsement
- notice of dishonour
- protest for non-acceptance or non-payment
- ship protests – requirements and purpose
Roman/Civil Law – bills of exchange and promissory notes in modern civil-law jurisdictions
Private International Law – applicable law in respect of negotiable instruments, international ship registration
Online workshop 5: Bills of Exchange – a practical demonstration of protests for non-acceptance and non-payment
Monday, 13 May 2024: 3-5pm
Guest Lecture: Topic TBC
Monday, 20 May 2024: 3-5pm
IN-PERSON WORKSHOP 3 – Review of the course & examination preparation
Dublin Venue TBC
Friday, 7 June 2024: 10am-4pm
FRIDAY 21 JUNE 2024, 2.00-5.00PM