Venkat Raman –
It was a moment of justifiable pride for young lawyer Farah Khan, her colleagues and family when she was sworn in recently as a Notary Public by Judge Dawson in a private ceremony at the High Court of Auckland.
According to available information, New Zealand accounts for only 160 Notaries Public, of who Auckland claims a share of 65. There are only four female Notaries Public in the Auckland region including Farah.
The 31-year-old lawyer is the daughter of Mohammed Faiyam Khan, Principal of Khan & Associates and a proud mother. She has been a Partner at the firm since the past six years, following her qualification as a law degree graduate from the University of Auckland in 2005.
The Notary status was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury based in England.
Documents attested by a Notary Public gain international recognition with the seal of the law firm carry the signature of the person appointed thus and the Seal of the Lawyer.
“Any document that needs acknowledgement in another country requires the seal and signature of a Notary Public. Other tasks undertaken by Notaries Public include witnessing signatures on legal documents, administering oaths and certifying the authenticity of legal documents for international purposes,” she said.
What is the difference between a Justice of the Peace (JP) and a Notary Public?
According to Farah, a Notary Public provides some similar services to JPs, although only qualified and experienced senior solicitors are able to become Notaries Public.
“Their services can therefore be more specialised and these are usually provided for a fee. A Notary Public in New Zealand must have at least 10 years of Legal experience as a Lawyer and at least five years as a Principal or Partner of a Law Firm. They must also be of impeccable character and be someone who is well respected in the community in which they intend on providing Notarial Services,” she said.
“The selection process if rigorous. Every applicant must provide references and signed recommendations by at least 25 professionals with a good standing in the business community.
The New Zealand Society of Notaries and the New Zealand Law Society must approve each application,” Farah said.
Khan & Associates, which was established 21 years ago, represents a growing number of clients of varied ethnicities. However, a majority of them are from India, Fiji, Pacific Islands, the Middle East and the Far East.
“Our clients have a vast range of interests predominately in Land, Property and Business in their home countries and are often in need of the services of a Notary Public. A large percentage of our clientele are from non-English speaking backgrounds and therefore, they are comfortable dealing with our firm where there is a range of written and spoken languages including English, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Mandarin,” Farah said.
She said that the Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture held on Monday, July 27, 2015 at Pullman Hotel Auckland (see various reports in this issue) was an eye-opener.
“The Lecture, with ‘The Role of Women in Governance was inspiring and made me realise that women create their own glass ceiling and therefore short-change themselves in life. I am proud of being a woman of Indian origin and heritage, fulfilling my role as a daughter, wife, mother, lawyer and now a Notary Public. I am aware that not all women can hold such varied roles, which motivates me to fare better in each of these functions,” Farah said.