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Code of Practice

Notaries are regulated by the Master of the Faculties, and are the only persons authorised under the Legal Services Act to carry out notarial activities. Notaries are also authorised to carry out other Reserved Legal Activities, specifically reserved instrument activities, probate activities and the administration of oaths. In addition to these Reserved Legal Activities notaries may provide other legal services (but notaries do not have rights of audience and are not authorised for the conduct of litigation). All services provided by a notary in that capacity form part of that notary’s practice and are subject to the regulation of the Master of the Faculties.

The Master of the Faculties is the only regulator of notarial activities. A notary holding a practising certificate is required to provide notarial services to the public, subject to the requirements of applicable legislation and the Master’s Rules, in particular the Practice Rules.

In common with all other Authorised Persons, notaries have the right to use the title “Commissioner for Oaths” and are required to offer the services of a Commissioner for Oaths to the public.

Notaries are not obliged to provide conveyancing and probate services, but if they do so under the regulation of the Master of the Faculties they must comply with special supervision and continuing professional education requirements.

This approved Code of Practice deals with core areas of Reserved Legal Activities generally, but also refers specifically to notarial activities and particular aspects of the provision of notarial services. Chapters 1 to 8 of the Code explain the Principles that must be applied by notaries in all services that they provide. The remaining chapters cover specific key areas of a notary’s practice and guidance for notary-conveyancers and notary-probate practitioners:

Practice Rule 5.1 requires notaries to have regard at all times to this Code of Practice. This means that whilst the guidance and statements of best practice contained in this Code are not obligatory, a notary must be aware and take account of the Code and the statements of best practice contained in the Code when providing notarial services.

Nothing in this Code of Practice relieves a notary of the duty to comply with any statutory provision or regulatory rule. The Code of Practice is designed to help notaries to comply with their professional obligations, to safeguard the interests of their clients and the interests of all persons placing legitimate reliance on notarial acts, and to enhance professional standards.

In this Code of Practice references to a notary include a firm of notaries [Practice Rule 2.1] unless the context clearly shows otherwise, but exclude ecclesiastical notaries.

In the Code of Practice, the Principles and key aspects of notarial services are analysed and explained in Chapters 1 to 19. Chapters 20 and 21 deal with conveyancing and probate services as provided by notaries. Each Chapter contains a series of Outcomes, which show the general aims of regulation in respect of that particular Principle or area of practice. The Outcomes represent the aims that a notary should achieve when dealing with clients generally and in particular when carrying out notarial activities

Positive and negative indicators of conduct are then given to provide examples of behaviour that are considered to represent the proper application of a Principle (a positive indicator of conduct) or failure to apply a Principle (a negative indicator of conduct). The positive and negative indicators of conduct are intended to provide helpful guidance and are not compulsory, except to the extent that they restate or exemplify applicable legislation and/or the Master’s Rules, in which case the legislation and the Master’s Rules must be observed.

Chapter 20 (conveyancing) and Chapter 21 (probate) only apply to those notaries who carry out conveyancing and/or probate activities as notaries. Notaries who are authorised to provide those services in a different capacity, for example as a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer, and who have chosen to provide those services under the regulation of a different regulator, do not have to refer to these Chapters. The structure of these two Chapters is different and reflects the special nature of these Reserved Legal Activities as carried out by notaries.

This Code of Practice cannot and is not intended to cover every aspect of notarial activities or of a notary’s practice. The varying nature of practices and of notarial services is recognised and notaries are expected to apply the Principles and consider the Outcomes using a proportionate and risk-based approach.

A proportionate approach takes into account the size and structure of the notary’s practice, and the nature and complexity of the particular service being provided. The practice of a sole practitioner notary will naturally be different in its organisation, structure and workload to the practice of a multi-partner firm of notaries.

A risk-based approach involves a risk assessment of particular instructions and a consequent application of the Principles that balances the objectives of providing a prompt and efficient service to clients and maintaining a proper standard of work. The application of the Principles to a simple notarial act such as the notarial attestation of a signature on a statutory pension form will differ from their application to a more complex matter such as the notarial authentication of a multi-party deed relating to a high-value corporate transaction.

The Principles are not discrete areas. Conduct that fails to consider or implement one Principle may cause, or be caused by, a failure in respect of another. This Code of Principle should be read accordingly.

Words and phrases appearing in bold in the text have associated definitions and references. The definition for each word or phrase will appear in a pop-up box when you click on it.

Defined term Definition
Accounts (Deposit Interest) Rules The Notaries’ Accounts (Deposit Interest) Rules 1989 as amended by the Notaries (Access to Justice Act) (Consequential Provisions) Rules 1999.
Accounts Rules The Notaries Accounts Rules 1989 as amended by an Order of the Master of the Faculties dated the 21st day of February 2012.
Accredited activities In the CPE Regulations accredited activities are those activities that have been accredited by the Master of the Faculties as providing active and relevant learning objectives in the basic requirement in notarial practice, conveyancing, or probate.
Administration of oaths The exercise of the powers conferred on a Commissioner for Oaths by — (a) the Commissioners for Oaths Act 1889 (c. 10); (b) the Commissioners for Oaths Act 1891 (c. 50); (c) section 24 of the Stamp Duties Management Act 1891 (c. 38) [Paragraph 8 of Schedule 2 to the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)], but “Administration of oaths” does not include the administration of oaths other than for the purposes included in the statutory definition quoted here; the administration of an oath by a notary for the purpose of the preparation of a notarial act is a notarial activity.
Anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorism legislation The Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11), the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (c. 29) and the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (S.I. 2007/2157).
Appointed representative A firm or person who runs regulated activities and acts as an agent for a firm directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, as referred to in Practice Rule 20.1, and defined by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (c. 8).
Authorised Person In relation to a Reserved Legal Activity, "Authorised Person" means a person who is authorised to carry on an activity by a Regulator [Section 18 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)].
Bank The branch, situated in England or Wales, of a Bank as defined by Section 87(1) of the Solicitors Act 1974 (c. 47), as amended by paragraph 9 of Schedule 6 to the Banking Act 1979 (c. 37) [Accounts Rule 2.1].
Bribery As defined in Section 1 of the Bribery Act 2010 (c. 23), and includes promising or giving a financial or other advantage to another person with the intention of inducing the improper performance of a function or activity, or to reward a person for the improper performance of a function or activity, and accepting an offer or promise of this nature as an inducement to perform a function or activity improperly or as a reward for the improper performance of a function or activity.
Building Society The branch, situated in England or Wales, of a building society as defined by paragraph 11(5) of Schedule 18 to the Building Societies Act 1986 [Accounts Rule 2.1].
Business client A client that is a company or other business entity.
Client (Chapter 9 - Accounts) Any person on whose account a notary holds or receives client’s money [Accounts Rule 2.1].
Client (general definition excluding Chapter 9 – Accounts) “Client” includes any person who has instructed a notary to carry out a reserved legal activity within the meaning of Section 12 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29) [Practice Rule 2.1].
Client account A current or deposit account at a bank or deposit account with a building society in the name of the notary and in the title of which account the word "client" appears [Accounts Rule 2.1 and Trust Accounts Rule 2.1].
Client’s Money Money held or received by a notary on account of a person for whom he is acting in relation to the holding or receipt of such money either as a notary or, in connection with his practice as a notary, as agent, bailee, stakeholder or in any other capacity; provided that the expression "client’s money" shall not include - (a) money held or received on account of the trustees of a trust of which the notary is a notary-trustee; or (b) money to which the only person entitled is the notary himself or, in the case of a firm of notaries, one or more of the partners in the notaries firm [Accounts Rule 2.1].
Commissioner for Oaths Relevant Authorised Persons under the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29), which includes notaries, have the right to use the title “Commissioner for Oaths” and to provide the service of Administration of Oaths in England and Wales [Section 183 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)].
Conduct and Discipline Rules The Notaries (Conduct and Discipline) Rules 2015.
Conduct of litigation The issuing of proceedings before any court in England and Wales, the commencement, prosecution and defence of such proceedings, and the performance of any ancillary functions in relation to such proceedings (such as entering appearances to actions) [Paragraph 4 of Schedule 2 to the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)].
Consumer An individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession [Regulation 4 of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/3134)].
Consumer Rights legislation Includes the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/3134) and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (c. 15).
Contingency Fund The fund maintained and administered by the Master of the Faculties and the Registrar referred to in the Notarial Contingency Fund Rules 1981 as amended by the Notarial Contingency Fund (Amendment) Rules 1993.
Continuing Education Day A full day’s course of professional post-admission education meeting the requirements of Post-Admission Rule 6.
Continuing Professional Education period 1st November to 31st October in the following calendar year [CPE Regulation 2].
Conveyancing Conveyancing is defined in CPE Regulation 2 with the same meaning as Reserved Instrument Activities.
CPE credit point One CPE credit point equates to one hour of continuing professional education [CPE Regulation 8.1].
CPE Regulations The Notaries (Continuing Professional Education) Regulations 2010.
CPE Training Record A record of a notary’s continuing profession education activities in the form provided in Schedule 2 to the CPE Regulations.
Data controller A person who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are, or are to be, processed [Section 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29), which includes notaries providing services to the public.
Data protection principles The principles set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29).
Data subject An individual who is the subject of personal data [Section 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29)].
Designated Society The Notaries Society and the Incorporated Company of Scriveners, and such other bodies as the Master of the Faculties may from time to time designate for the purposes of the Conduct and Discipline Rules for dealing with complaints relating to the services provided or charges made by a notary who is a member of that Society.
Ecclesiastical notary Any person appointed as registrar of either of the provinces of Canterbury or York, as registrar to the Archbishop of Wales, as legal adviser to the General Synod to the Church of England, as legal secretary to the Governing Body of the Church in Wales, as registrar of any diocese in England or Wales, as an officer of the ecclesiastical court in Jersey or Guernsey, or as the deputy to any such officer, may apply for admission as a notary public for ecclesiastical purposes only, upon satisfying the Master of the fact of such an appointment [Qualification Rule 4].
Employed notary A notary who provides notarial services to the public as part or the whole of his or her employment, whether employed by a notary or notarial firm or a non-notary, except in the context of Practice Rule 11.1 where a special definition applies for that purpose.
Employer notary A notary who employs one or more notaries for the provision of notarial services to the public.
Equality legislation Includes the Equality Act 2010 (c. 15).
Faculty A faculty issued in the name of the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and under the seal of the Court of Faculties by authority granted in the Ecclesiastical Licences Act 1533 (c. 21) appointing a person to the office of notary.
Faculty Office The Court of Faculties of the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury [Trust Accounts Rule 2.1].
Fidelity insurance Insurance against financial loss suffered by a third party in consequence of any dishonest or fraudulent act or any omission by a notary in connection with his or her practice as a notary [Practising Certificate Rule 6.1.2].
Information Commissioner’s Office The UK's independent body set up to uphold information rights.
Inspection questionnaire The questionnaire approved by the Master of the Faculties as the basis for an inspection of a notary’s practice under the Inspections Regulations.
Inspections Regulations The Notaries (Inspections) Regulations 2014.
Inspector An inspector appointed by the Master of the Faculties to inspect a notary’s practice under the Inspections Regulations.
Legal activity A Reserved Legal Activity and any other activity which consists of one or both of the following — (i) the provision of legal advice or assistance in connection with the application of the law or with any form of resolution of legal disputes; (ii) the provision of representation in connection with any matter concerning the application of the law or any form of resolution of legal disputes [Section 12(3) of the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)].
Legal Ombudsman The ombudsman appointed by the Office for Legal Complaints established pursuant to Section 114 and Section 115 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29) to deal with complaints about authorised persons including legal practitioners and others, authorised in England and Wales.
Legal Ombudsman Order An order made by the Legal Ombudsman to deal with a complaint that is found to be justified, which may require the service provider to apologise, give back any documents that might be needed, put things right, if more work can correct what went wrong, refund or reduce the legal fees, or pay compensation if someone has lost out or been badly treated.
Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules The scheme rules made by the Legal Ombudsman about complaints made from 6 October 2010 (version including amendments that apply to complaints referred to the Legal Ombudsman from 28 January 2015) about authorised persons including legal practitioners and others, authorised in England and Wales, explaining which complaints are covered by the Legal Ombudsman and how it will deal with them.
Legal Services Act The Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29).
Limitation period The maximum period of time during which a claim can be brought in relation to a particular matter, as provided for in the Limitation Act 1980 (c. 58).
Locum tenens A notary engaged by another notary to provide notarial services on a temporary basis, but not an employed notary.
Master’s Rules All the rules and regulations made by the Master of the Faculties pursuant to Section 4 of the Public Notaries Act 1843 (c.90), Section 57 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (c. 41) and/or all other relevant legislation. The Master’s Rules are listed on the Faculty Office website here.
Money Laundering Regulations The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (S.I. 2007/2157).
Money Laundering Reporting Officer Referred to in the Official AML Guidance as the “Nominated Officer”, the Money Laundering Reporting Officer in a notarial firm is the notary to whom anyone in the practice handling relevant business who knows or suspects, or has reasonable grounds to suspect, that a transaction involved money laundering must report. A sole practitioner notary does not appoint a Money Laundering Reporting Officer but must report knowledge, suspicion or reasonable grounds for suspicion of money laundering to the National Crime Agency [Official AML Guidance Section 4(iii)(b)].
National Crime Agency A non-ministerial government department formed under Part 1 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 (c. 22) with functions including securing that efficient and effective activities to combat organised crime and serious crime are carried out and gathering, storing, processing, analysing, and disseminating information that is relevant to activities to combat organised crime or serious crime.
Non-accredited activities In the CPE Regulations non-accredited activities are those activities that are listed in Schedule 1 to the CPE Regulations and in respect of which CPE credit points may be claimed to supplement the three accredited CPE credit points that must be acquired during each Continuing Professional Education period as a minimum.
Notarial act Any act that has validity by virtue only of its preparation, performance, authentication, attestation or verification by a notary and includes any such act carried out by electronic means [Practice Rule 2.1].
Notarial activities Activities which, immediately before the implementation of the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29), were customarily carried on by virtue of enrolment as a notary in accordance with Section 1 of the Public Notaries Act 1801 (c. 79), but excluding reserved instrument activities, probate activities and the administration of oaths [paragraph 7 of Schedule 2 to the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)].
Notarial entity A body corporate or partnership established for the provision of notarial services, but not including a sole practitioner notary.
Notarial firm Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, “notarial firm” includes a sole practitioner notary and a professional partnership (including a limited liability partnership and any other body corporate) the members of which are authorised to provide legal services.
Notarial Misconduct (1) Fraudulent conduct, (2) Practising as a notary without a valid Notarial Practising Certificate or in breach of a condition or limitation imposed on a Notarial Practising Certificate, or (3) serious misconduct which may inter alia include failure to observe the requirements of the Conduct and Discipline Rules or of the Notaries Practice Rules or falling seriously below the standard of service reasonably to be expected of a notary or persistent failure to provide the standard of service reasonably to be expected by a notary [Conduct and Discipline Rule 2.1].
Notarial services Services provided by a notary to the public in that capacity (see also the definition of a notary’s practice).
Notaries Guarantee THE NOTARIES’ GUARANTEE LIMITED, a company limited by guarantee (company number 2810402) providing fidelity insurance cover for members of The Notaries Society who apply for members and whose application is approved by the directors of Notaries Guarantee.
Notaries Society The representative body for notaries who are members of the society.
Notary-conveyancer A notary who provides conveyancing services as a notary and subject to the regulation of the Master of the Faculties.
Notary-probate practitioner A notary who provides probate services as a notary and subject to the regulation of the Master of the Faculties.
Notary-trustee A notary who is a sole trustee or co-trustee only with one or more of his partners or employees [Accounts Rule 2.1].
Notary’s practice Includes the preparation and performance of notarial acts and any other service undertaken as a notary whether or not such service may only be undertaken by a notary [Practice Rule 2.2.1].
Oath of a Notary The oath required by Section 7 of the Public Notaries Act 1843 (c. 90) before a person may be admitted and enrolled as a notary.
Official AML Guidance The anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing guidance for Notaries as may from time to time be approved by the Treasury under Section 330 and Section 331 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (c. 29), Section 21A of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11), and Regulation 42 and Regulation 45 of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (S.I. 2007/2157) [Prevention of Money Laundering Rule 2].
Ombudsman A person who has been officially appointed to look into complaints about an organisation.
Personal data Data which relate to a living individual who can be identified — (a) from those data, or (b) from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller, and includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual [Section 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29)].
Post-Admission Rules The Notaries (Post-Admission) Rules 2009, as amended by an Order of the Master of the Faculties dated 2nd February 2012.
Practice Rules The Notaries Practice Rules 2014.
Practising certificate A practising certificate issued pursuant to the Notaries (Practising Certificates) Rules 2012, without which a notary may not provide services to the public [Practising Certificate Rule 3.1].
Practising Certificate Rules The Notaries (Practising Certificate) Rules 2012.
Prevention of Money Laundering Rules The Notaries (Prevention of Money Laundering) Rules 2008.
Principles The general principles set out in Practice Rule 4 [Practice Rule 2.1].
Private client An individual requesting notarial services in a private capacity.
Privilege Also referred to as “legal professional privilege”, privilege is a principle that certain documents and information provided to lawyers by clients may not be disclosed.
Probate activities Preparing any papers on which to found or oppose a grant of probate, or a grant of letters of administration for the purposes of the law of England and Wales or in relation to any proceedings in England and Wales [paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 to the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)].
Proceeds of Crime Act The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (c. 29).
Professional indemnity insurance Insurance against civil liability for professional negligence [Practising Certificate Rule 6.1.1].
Protected characteristic Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation [Section 4 of the Equality Act 2010 (c. 15)].
Provision of services legislation Includes the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (S.I. 2009/2999).
Qualified legal practitioner “Qualified legal practitioner” means (i) a person qualified to provide legal services to the public in England and Wales; or (ii) a person qualified to provide legal services to the public under the laws of any other jurisdiction who practises as such in England and Wales [Practice Rule 2.1].
Receiving jurisdiction The country or administrative subdivision of a country with a distinct legal system in which a notarial act is to be used.
Registrar The Registrar of the Court of Faculties, or one of the Joint Registrars.
Regulator An approved regulator under the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29).
Relevant Business In the Official AML Guidance, “Relevant Business” is defined as the transactions specified in Regulation 3(9) and 3(10) of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (S.I. 2007/2157), including transactions concerning the buying and selling of real property and business entities, the managing of client funds and the creation, operation or management of trusts, companies or similar structures, and trust or company service providers.
Reserved instrument activities Preparing any instrument of transfer or charge for the purposes of the Land Registration Act 2002 (c. 9), making an application or lodging a document for registration under that Act, and preparing any other instrument relating to real or personal estate for the purposes of the law of England and Wales or instrument relating to court proceedings in England and Wales [paragraph 5.1 of Schedule 2 to the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)].
Reserved legal activities The exercise of a right of audience, the conduct of litigation, reserved instrument activities, probate activities, notarial activities, and the administration of oaths. [Section 12.1 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)].
Rights of audience The right to appear before and address a court, including the right to call and examine witnesses [paragraph 3.1 of Schedule 2 to the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29)].
Scrivener Notary A notary who holds the qualifications to practise as a Scrivener Notary from time to time prescribed by the Scriveners Company [Practice Rule 15].
Scriveners Company The Worshipful Company of Scriveners, or the Incorporated Company of Scriveners, or the Scriveners Company.
Sensitive personal data Personal data consisting of information as to — (a) the racial or ethnic origin of the data subject, (b) his political opinions, (c) his religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature, (d) whether he is a member of a trade union (within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (c. 52)), (e) his physical or mental health or condition, (f) his sexual life, (g) the commission or alleged commission by him of any offence, or (h) any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been committed by him, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any court in such proceedings [Section 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29)].
Service provider A person who provides, or offers to provide, a service [Regulation 4 of the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (S.I. 2009/2999)].
Services contract A contract for a trader to supply a service to a consumer [Section 40 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (c. 15)].
Signposting notice A letter or wording incorporated into another document informing customers how to complain, in order to meet the requirements under Section 112 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (c. 29) and Chapter 3.2 of the Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules.
Society or Societies The Notaries Society and the Society of Scrivener Notaries.
Society of Scrivener Notaries The representative body for scrivener notaries who are members of the society.
Sole practitioner notary A notary who does not practise in partnership with other notaries or within a notarial firm.
Solicitor-notary A notary who also practises as a solicitor.
Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) The independent regulatory body created by the Law Society, regulating solicitors of England and Wales, law firms of England and Wales, non-lawyers, who can be either managers or employees of firms regulated by the SRA; and other types of lawyer, such as registered foreign lawyers and registered European lawyers.
Staff Persons employed by a notary or a notarial firm on a full-time or part-time basis to assist the notary or the firm in the provision of notarial services.
Supervision Under the Post-Admission Rules, the supervision of a notary during the first two years of notarial practice, or in appropriate cases the first three years of providing conveyancing or probate services.
Suspicious Activity Report A report alerting law enforcement agencies that certain client activity is in some way suspicious and might indicate money laundering or terrorist financing.
Terrorism Act The Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11).
Tipping off A disclosure that is likely to prejudice a money laundering or terrorism investigation, for example, informing an individual of a disclosure made to the National Crime Agency. Defined in full by Section 21D of the Terrorism Act 2000 (c. 11) and Section 333 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (c. 29).
Trader A person acting for purposes relating to that person’s trade, business, craft or profession, whether acting personally or through another person acting in the trader’s name or on the trader’s behalf [Regulation 4 of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2009/2999) and Section 2.2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (c. 15)], which includes a notary providing notarial services to the public.
Trust account A current or deposit account kept at a bank or deposit account kept with a building society in the title of which the word "trustee" or "executor" appears or which is otherwise clearly designated as a trust account, and kept solely for money subject to a particular trust of which the notary is a notary-trustee [Trust Accounts Rule 2.1].
Trust Accounts Rules The Notaries Trust Accounts Rules 1989.
Trust money Money held or received by a notary which is not client’s money and which is subject to a trust of which the notary is a trustee whether or not he is a notary-trustee of such trust [Accounts Rule 2.1].
Undertaking A statement, given orally or in writing, whether or not it includes the word “undertake” or “undertaking”, made by or on behalf of a notary or a notarial firm, in the course of practice, or by a notary outside the course of practice but as a notary, to someone who reasonably places reliance on it, that a notary or notarial firm will do something or cause something to be done, or refrain from doing something.