CHAPTER 149
NOTARIES ACT

Arrangement of Sections

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

3. Principal role of Notaries.

PART II

APPOINTMENT AND QUALIFICATIONS OF NOTARIES, OFFICIAL NOTARY AND
ASSISTANT OFFICIAL NOTARIES

4. Appointment of notaries.

5. Qualification for appointment as a notary.

6. Examination Board.

7. Person who may sit for examination.

8. Roll of Notaries.

9. Pre-condition before starting to practice as notary.

10. Resignation of a notary.

11. Suspension or removal of a notary by court.

12. Reinstatement.

13. Official Notary and Assistant Official Notary.

14. Acts which a notary may not perform.

PART III

MANNER OF DRAWING UP AND CONTENT OF DEEDS

15. Manner of drawing up deeds and content of deeds drawn up by a notary generally.

16. Certain deeds required to be made before a second notary or two witnesses.

17. Restriction regarding deed founded on another deed.

18. Special rules as to wills.

19. Special requirement with regard to deed of acquittance.

20. Registrar General may refuse to register etc deed in certain cases.

21. Deed void in certain circumstances.

22. Notarial deed is authentic document.

PART IV

ARCHIVES, COPIES OF DEEDS ETC

23. Safekeeping of original and authenticated copy of deeds.

24. Delivery of copy of deed.

25. Register of Summaries.

26. Archives of notary to be deposited at Seychelles Archives.

27. Attorney-General may cause archives of a notary to be deposited with Seychelles Archives etc.

28. Handing over of archives of a notary to another notary.

29. Archives of a notary who has died.

30. Executory copy.

31. Notary to register etc deeds drawn up by him.

32. Seal.

33. Leave of absence.

34. Legalisation of deeds.

35. Fees.

36. Agreement in respect of fees.

37. Offences.

38. Regulations, Rules.

39. Repeal of Cap 85.

SCHEDULE

4 of 1991.

[Date of commencement: 1st July 1995]

PART I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Notaries Act.

2. Interpretation.

In this Act—

“archives”, in respect of a notary, means all deeds, registers of summaries and other documents kept or required to be kept by the notary under this Act or any other written law;

“Curator of Seychelles Archives” means the person referred to in the Seychelles Archives Act;

“examination board” means the examination board established under section 6;

“notarial deed” means a deed drawn up by or before a notary in accordance with this Act;

“prescribed fees” means fees prescribed under this Act in respect of the services of a notary;

“Seychelles Archives” means the Seychelles Archives established under the Seychelles Archives Act;

“stamp duty” means stamp duty under the Stamp Duty Act and “stamped” shall be construed accordingly;

3. Principal role of Notaries.

A notary is a public official whose duty shall be—

(a) to draw up any document which a person is required by law, or desires—

(i) to invest with the character of authenticity which is attached to a document of a public authority; or

(ii) to establish a fixed date for the document in terms of the Civil Code;

(b) subject to this Act—

(i) to keep custody of the original of documents referred to in paragraph (a);

(ii) to furnish executory or authenticated copies of documents referred to in paragraph (a) under this Act.

PART II

APPOINTMENT AND QUALIFICATIONS OF NOTARIES, OFFICIAL NOTARY AND ASSISTANT OFFICIAL NOTARIES

4. Appointment of notaries.

(1) The President may appoint a person qualified under this Act to be a notary.

(2) Subject to this Act, a person appointed as a notary under subsection (1) shall hold office for life but may resign his office or be suspended or removed from office.

5. Qualification for appointment as a notary.

(1) A person shall not be appointed a notary—

(a) unless—

(i) he is a Seychellois;

(ii) he is over the age of 25;

(iii) he is of good character;

(iv) he—

A. has passed an examination in law before the examination board and has obtained a certificate of proficiency from the board; or

B. is an attorney-at-law and has been admitted as such for, subject to subsection (2), not less than five years;

(b) if he is an undischarged bankrupt or has been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty.

(2) The President may, in any case where he sees fit to do so, dispense with or shorten the period of five years referred to in subsection (1)(a)(iv)B.

6. Examination Board.

(1) There shall be an examination board which shall be responsible for the conduct of examinations for persons qualified under this Act who desire to be appointed notary under this Act.

(2) The examination board shall consist of at least three persons to be appointed by the President, after consultation with the Chief Justice, from amongst persons who are knowledgeable in law generally and in particular in the laws of Seychelles.

(3) The President shall appoint one of the members of the examination board to be chairman.

(4) Matters before the examination board shall be decided by a majority of votes.

(5) Each member of the examination board shall have one vote and the chairman shall have in addition a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes.

(6) A member of the examination board shall not sit on the board if the person being examined is serving as a clerk or is an employee in his chambers or is a relative in direct line, whatever may be the degree of relationship, or in the collateral line, up to and including the degree of uncle or nephew.

(7) Subject to this section, the examination board shall regulate its own proceedings.

7. Person who may sit for examination.

A person shall not be admitted to examination by the examination board unless he qualifies under this Act.

8. Roll of Notaries.

(1) The Registrar of the Supreme Court shall keep a roll of notaries in which he shall enter the names and other prescribed particulars of persons appointed as notaries.

(2) The Registrar of the Supreme Court shall maintain the roll of notaries up-to-date and may for this purpose remove any obsolete entries from the roll.

9. Pre-condition before starting to practice as notary.

A person appointed as a notary shall not practice as such unless he—

(a) furnishes security in accordance with this Act;

(b) takes and subscribes the Oath of Allegiance and the Official Oaths under the Official Oaths Act, or any other written law;

(c) complies with any other written law requiring him to hold a licence before providing legal services as a notary.

10. Resignation of a notary.

(1) A notary may, after giving not less than three months prior notice in writing to the Attorney-General, resign his office.

(2) A notary who intends to resign shall submit with his notice under subsection (1) a scheme relating to the winding-up of his practice and the handing over or disposal of his archives for the approval of the Attorney-General.

(3) The Attorney-General may approve the scheme submitted under subsection (2) subject to such modification or condition as he thinks fit and the notary shall comply with the scheme as approved by the Attorney-General.

11. Suspension or removal of a notary by court.

(1) The Supreme Court may, subject to this section—

(a) suspend or remove from office a notary—

(i) who is guilty of any malpractice or misconduct;

(ii) who consistently fails to comply with the provisions of this Act relating to his archives or to any record he is required to keep under this Act;

(iii) who has committed any offence under a written law which, in the opinion of the Court, makes him unfit to continue to practice as a notary;

(iv) who fails to perform his functions as a notary; or

(v) where the Court believes that he has ceased to be a fit and proper person to perform the functions of a notary;

(b) suspend from practice a notary where the Court is not satisfied that the security furnished by the notary for the purposes of this Act is sufficient or good enough for the purposes of this Act.

(2) The Supreme Court may—

(a) instead of suspending or removing a notary under subsection (1) impose a fine on the notary, or order the notary to pay such compensation as the Court thinks fit;

(b) when suspending or removing a notary from office under subsection (1) or imposing a fine or ordering payment of compensation under paragraph (a), make such other order, including—

(i) an order relating to the security given by the notary under or for the purposes of this Act;

(ii) an order relating to the assets of the notary or of the firm of notaries or legal practitioners in which the notary is a partner,

as it thinks fit.

(3) Where the Supreme Court removes a notary under subsection (1), it shall require him to submit for the approval of the Attorney-General a scheme relating to the handing over or disposal of his archives.

(4) The Attorney-General may approve the scheme submitted under subsection (3) subject to such modification or condition as he thinks fit and the person who has been removed from office shall comply with the scheme as approved by the Attorney-General.

(5) For the purpose of this section the Supreme Court may act on its own motion or upon an application in writing of the Attorney-General or the Bar Association of Seychelles.

(6) Before suspending or removing a notary from office under this section the Supreme Court shall inform the notary of the charge or complaint against him and give the notary an opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel as the notary thinks fit.

(7) The Registrar of the Supreme Court shall on the making of an order of suspension or removal under this section amend the roll of notaries accordingly.

(8) The Chief Justice may make rules for the purpose of proceedings for the suspension or removal of a notary from office under this section.

12. Reinstatement.

(1) The Supreme Court may, where it has suspended or removed a person as a notary under section 11, on an application by the person suspended or removed, remove the suspension or reinstate the person subject to such condition as it thinks fit.

(2) The Registrar of the Supreme Court shall, on the removal of a suspension or the reinstatement of a notary amend the roll of notaries accordingly.

(3) A person whose suspension as a notary has been removed or who has been reinstated as a notary may practice as a notary if—

(a) the security furnished by him under this Act is still good enough security for the purposes of this Act;

(b) he holds a licence under the written law requiring him to have a licence before providing legal services as a notary; and

(c) he has complied with any condition imposed by the Supreme Court under subsection (1).

(4) The decision of the Attorney-General under section 11 with regard to the archives of a person who has been suspended or removed from office as a notary shall, notwithstanding the removal of the suspension, or the reinstatement of the person, as the case may be, continue to apply to the archives of the person.

13. Official Notary and Assistant Official Notary.

(1) The President may appoint on such terms and conditions as he thinks fit—

(a) a public officer who qualifies to be appointed as a notary under section 5(1) to be Official Notary; and

(b) a public officer who—

(i) qualifies to be appointed as a notary under section 5(1);

(ii) is a barrister or attorney-at-law; or

(iii) the President is satisfied has sufficient knowledge of the laws of the Republic to perform the functions of a notary,

to be an Assistant Official Notary.

(2) An Assistant Official Notary shall perform his functions subject to the direction of the Official Notary.

(3) The Official Notary and, subject to subsection (2), an Assistant Official Notary may perform all the functions which a notary may or is by law required to perform under any written law and, except as provided otherwise, are subject to all prohibitions or restrictions imposed on a notary under this Act or any other written law.

(4) Before taking office the Official Notary and an Assistant Official Notary shall take and subscribe the oaths which a notary is required to take and subscribe under section 9.

14. Acts which a notary may not perform.

(1) A notary shall not, while exercising his functions as a notary, directly or indirectly through another—

(a) acquire an interest in any matter in respect of which he gives his services as a notary;

(b) invest in his own name or for his own benefit any sum of money which he may have received for or on behalf of a client;

(c) receive or keep any sum of money in his capacity as a notary on condition that he will pay interest on the sum;

(d) make use at any time or for any period of any sum of money, or of any security which may have been entrusted to him for any purpose whatsoever, other than the purpose for which the sum of money or security was originally entrusted to him;

(e) cause any note or receipt to be signed in blank.

(2) A notary shall not, except with the written permission of the client, keep in his possession for more than 30 days any sum of money entrusted to him by a client.

(3) A notary shall not draw up an act in which his relatives in direct line, whatever may be the degree of relationship, or in the collateral line, up to and including the degree of uncle or nephew, are parties or which contain any provision in their favour.

(4) A notary shall not draw up a deed in the presence of another notary or officiate together with another notary in the same deed if the other notary is his relative in direct line, whatever may be the degree of relationship, or in the collateral line, up to and including the degree of uncle or nephew.

PART III

MANNER OF DRAWING UP AND CONTENT OF DEEDS

15. Manner of drawing up deeds and content of deeds drawn up by a notary generally.

Subject to this Act—

(a) a deed may be drawn up before a single notary;

(b) the Schedule shall have effect with regard to the manner of drawing up deeds and the content of deeds drawn up by a notary.

16. Certain deeds required to be made before a second notary or two witnesses.

(1) A deed drawn up by a notary containing—

(a) a donation inter vivos;

(b) a donation between spouses;

(c) a revocation of a donation by will;

(d) an acknowledgment of a natural child;

(e) a power of attorney to make a donation under paragraph (a) or paragraph (b), a revocation under paragraph (c) or an acknowledgment under paragraph (d),

shall be drawn up in the presence of a second notary or two witnesses but shall, subject to this section, otherwise comply with the Schedule.

(2) A deed referred to in subsection (1) shall state that it has been drawn up in the presence of a second notary or two witnesses.

(3) Where a deed referred to in subsection (1) is drawn up before a second notary anything which is required to be done under this Act before a witness, other than an additional witness in the case where a party cannot sign, shall be done before the second notary.

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