In December 2014 we examined the need for notarial authentications (often referred to as notarizations or the authentication of documents) and further authentication when documents are to be used outside the Republic.It is similarly important to investigate the process involved in the authentication of documents executed or otherwise originating abroad for use in the Republic. As a Notary Public in Cape Town I encounter these situation often.
We recommend working with a specialist firm of Notaries Public for prompt and accurate guidance.
In essence a document must be authenticated by a notary public or similar office recognised in the country in question and thereafter an apostille attached (in the case of a country which is a party to the Hague Convention) to it. This is essentially a process which aims to combat fraud.
In our experience as both a firm or notaries and conveyancers, some of the most common transactions involving the authentication of documents, as set out above, occurs when South African property is to be transferred by an owner living abroad (outside of RSA). This means that the duly authenticated document will eventually be filed in the Deeds Office. Accordingly, it must conform to Deeds Office regulations.
In turn the Deeds Office is guided by the provisions of the Hague Convention and ensures compliance with it.
The Notarial authentication process is fairly complex and professional guidance in avoiding unnecessary delays is crucial. In addition, with transactions involving the transfer of property, it is important that the conveyancer advises the parties appropriately.