The Faculty Office as Regulator of the Notarial Profession
The ‘Approved Regulator’: The Master of the Faculties is the regulator of the profession of Notaries Public in England & Wales, and the Faculty Office (led by the Registrar) assists the Master in his functions.
The Legal Services Act 2007 which confirmed the Master as ‘Approved Regulator’ also set up the Legal Services Board (‘LSB’) to oversee the regulatory work across the legal professions. The Faculty Office works with the Legal Services Board, Office of the Legal Ombudsman (‘LeO’), the Ministry of Justice, the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (‘OPBAS’) and other bodies in its role as regulator of Notaries.
The Master meets regularly with the senior staff of the Faculty Office to discuss regulatory matters. A note of the decisions taken is published here
The Master has two boards which, whilst not having an executive function, nevertheless assist him and the Faculty Office in their regulatory role:
Follow this link to read more about: The role of the Qualifications Board
Consumer Guide to Complaints and Discipline: The Faculty Office has published a simple guide to the complaints and discipline system which is used in the relatively small number of complaints which it receives about the conduct of the notaries which it regulates. The guide can be read here: Consumer Guide to Complaints and Discipline
Assurance (Risk and Supervision) Policy: The Faculty Office has published an Assurance Policy setting out its approach to risk and supervision in relation to its regulated community. The document can be reviewed here: Faculty Office Assurance Policy
Cost of Regulation: In accordance with the Legal Services Board “Principles of Costs Transparency” guidance, the Faculty Office has published a set of Core Metrics in relation to its regulatory activities. The document can be reviewed here: Faculty Office ‘Core Metrics’ 2019
The Core Metrics for the previous financial period are also available for comparison: Faculty Office ‘Core Metrics’ 2018.
Inspections of Notarial Practices: The Notaries Practice Rules 2014 came into force on 1st May 2014. On the same date, regulations governing a new regime of inspections, the Notaries (Inspections) Regulations 2014, also took effect. In December 2018 the inspectors submitted their annual report to the Faculty Office for the previous year, which is available to read here: Inspections Report 2018 (issued December 2018)
For reference, the inspectors earlier reports are available to read here:
Statistics about the Notarial Profession: As part of the annual practising certificate renewal process, the Faculty Office has collected information from Notaries about aspects of their practice so that it can better understand the make-up and nature of the profession, the types of work undertaken, and the level of gross fee income. These statistics are used by the Faculty Office to inform its regulatory functions and risk assessments. Some of the data collected in the 2013/14 and 2015/16 renewals has been collated to provide a snapshot of the profession, and analysed by the Faculty Office. Please click on the link below to view the results:
Analysis of the Notarial Profession; 2015/16 practising certificate renewals
Equality and Diversity in the Notarial profession: The legal profession and wider legal services workforce should reflect the society it serves. To achieve a profession which is truly representative at all levels requires regulators and the profession itself to identify barriers to entry and progression and begin to break them down. By doing this, we will ensure that the legal workforce is open to the widest possible pool of talent. The Legal Services Act 2007 includes a specific regulatory objective to “encourage a strong, independent, diverse and effective legal profession.” The Equality Act 2010 also puts approved regulators under a duty to advance equality of opportunity between different groups. As part of its work in these areas, once every three years, the Faculty Office collects data about the profession, through a voluntary questionnaire which all Notaries are requested to complete. This data is collated and is published to display equality and diversity statistics about the profession. Please click on the links below to view the results:
Results of 2011-2012 Notaries Diversity and Equality Questionnaire
Results of 2014-2015 Notaries Diversity and Equality Questionnaire
Results of 2017-2018 Notaries Diversity and Equality Questionnaire
The 2017-18 data has been analysed further and broken down against the diversity characteristics in various ‘post-admission’ bands. The data supports the anecdotal evidence that recent admissions represent a more diverse cohort than has been the case in the past. The data can be viewed here:
Breakdown of 2017-2018 Diversity and Equality Data
Priorities for 2019: The Master of the Faculties has set a number of priorities which he requires the Faculty Office to focus on for the current year: Faculty Office Priorities for 2019
Annual Report: The Registrar of Faculty Office provides an annual report on its work as regulator of the Notarial Profession: Registrars Annual Report. The financial statements referred to in the report may be viewed here.
Master’s address to the Notaries Society Conference: The Master of the Faculties gives an address to the Annual Conference of the Notaries Society about the profession and the Faculty Office. In September 2019 the Master’s address has once again taken the form of a written report provided to delegates in advance and upon which the Master, Registrar and Chief Clerk of the Faculty Office took questions at the Conference. A copy of the report is available to read here: Master’s Address to The Notaries Society Annual Conference 2019
Disciplinary Decisions of the Court of Faculties
The Faculty Office exercises a disciplinary function over Notaries (including Scrivener Notaries) in England & Wales. Disciplinary Proceedings in the Court of Faculties are conducted in accordance with the Notaries (Conduct and Discipline) Rules 2015 and the Notaries (Conduct and Discipline) Fees and Costs Order 2015.
Further information can be found on our page about the Notary Complaints Procedure.
Recent decisions in the Court of Faculties will be published on the website from time to time.
Access to Data: Notaries A-Z spreadsheet
The Faculty Office provides an interactive search function on our website, intended to benefit potential clients of a notary such as businesses and members of the public, under ‘Find a Notary’.
The Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury also maintains jurisdiction for the appointment (and partial regulation) of Notaries in certain overseas jurisdictions. See the page ‘Notaries in Overseas Jurisdictions’ for some further information.