Notaries are members of the legal profession who carry out a range of specialist duties for commercial firms involved in international trade and for private individuals. Their main tasks include:
Notaries in England and Wales can also carry out the full range of legal duties, apart from contentious matters and conducting cases in courts.
Notaries' earnings vary enormously. Few people outside London work solely as notaries. Their income is mainly derived from their work as solicitors and most earn between £3,000 and £20,000 from their notarial work.
There are around 800 notaries in England and Wales. The vast majority are also qualified solicitors. In Scotland most solicitors are admitted as notaries at the same time as they are admitted as solicitors, as there is no specific notary training. For more general information on becoming a solicitor, see our Solicitor job guide.
In England and Wales all candidates who wish to become notaries must either have a qualifying law degree or be qualified as solicitors or barristers. They must then complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Practice. This is offered by the University of Cambridge's Institute of Continuing Education by distance learning over two years.
Newly-qualified notaries must practise for the first two years under the supervision of a qualified notary. It is possible to take further courses in languages and foreign law to qualify as a scrivener notary, someone who has traditionally practised only in the City of London.
A notary should be:
Notaries may become partners in law firms or set up their own companies.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
The Administration Department,
The Notaries Society,
PO Box 226 Melton, Woodbridge IP12 1WX
Government Legal Service (GLS),
Chancery House, 53-64 Chancery Lane,
London WC2A 1QS
Tel: 020 7649 6023
Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX),
Kempston Manor, Kempston,
Bedfordshire MK42 7AB
Tel: 01234 841000
Law Careers Advice Network (LCAN)
Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane,
London WC2A 1PL
Tel: 020 7242 1222
Law Society of Northern Ireland,
Law Society House, 40 Linenhall Street,
Belfast BT2 8BA
Tel: 028 9023 1614
Law Society of Scotland,
26 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7YR
Tel: 0131 226 7411
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.