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, the Ministry of Justice, and other bodies in its role as regulator of Notaries.
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
Consultation responses: The Faculty Office provides responses to matters on which it is consulted by one of these bodies; for example, the Faculty Office’s response to the Triennial Review of the Legal Services Board and Office for Legal Complaints (Office of the Legal Ombudsman), and the submission to the Ministry of Justice Review of the Legal Services Regulatory Framework can both be found here:
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 September 2016 the two Inspectors submitted their annual report to the Faculty Office for the previous year, which is available to read here:
Inspections Report 2016 (issued September 2016)
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 Questionnaire
Results of 2014-2015 Notaries Diversity and Equality Questionnaire
Priorities for 2017: The Master of the Faculties has set a number of priorities which he requires the Faculty Office to focus on for the current year:
Annual Report: The Faculty Office provides an annual report on its work as regulator of the Notarial Profession:
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.
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’.
From time to time we make available (in a spreadsheet format) our dataset of currently practising notaries, on our ‘Access to Data: Notaries A-Z’ page.
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.