The Sir Zelman Cowen Centre at Victoria University delivers a comprehensive suite of professional development programmes in notarial practice for Australian and other common law legal practitioners. For entry level practitioner through to skilled expert there are programmes suitable for all levels of practice which also provide pathways into academic study and research.
The notarial practice programme includes award and non-award courses and continuing professional development workshops. From August 2012, the Professional Course in Notarial Practice will be our new “entry level” course. Practitioners who complete this course will receive advance standing into a Graduate Diploma in Notarial Practice and from 2013 will have the opportunity to progress their studies further to undertake a degree of Master of Notarial Science.
In addition, masterclasses are scheduled during the year to provide in depth professional development in relation to specific areas of practice and current issues for practising notaries
The Professional Course in Notarial Practise
The Professional Course in Notarial Practice offered by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre, Victoria University is designed as a robust entry level course of education for legal practitioners who wish to be appointed to office as notaries public.
The Course has been developed by the Sir Zelman Cowen Centre in association with the Society of Notaries of Victoria Inc. and the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries. Satisfactory completion of the Course will also enable students to proceed with further studies leading to a Graduate Diploma in Notarial Practice and ultimately to the degree of Master of Notarial Science.
Successfully completing the Professional Course in Notarial Practice satisfies the requirements of the Public Notaries Act 2001 (Vic) in relation to the education of prospective notaries in Victoria.
Although originally designed to meet a specific legislative requirement in Victoria, the Professional Course in Notarial Practice is the pre-eminent qualification for prospective notaries in Australia and in the common law jurisdictions of the Asia Pacific region.
The Course programme aims to deliver first quality professional education in notarial practice for persons who seek appointment as notaries in Victoria, and in other common law jurisdictions.
The objectives of the Course are to provide students with:
- a comprehensive overview of notarial practice in the major civil law and common law jurisdictions
- an in depth theoretical and practical knowledge of the work of a notary in Australia generally, including a detailed understanding of notarial acts in private and public forms and instruction in relation to a notary’s professional rights and obligations
The notarial practice programme is conducted by the Cowen Centre’s Director of Notarial Studies, Professor Peter Zablud, RFD, Dist.FANZCN. He is a practising lawyer and notary in Victoria. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries and is Chairman of the College’s Board of Governors. He is also a Fellow of the Society of Notaries of Victoria and is a Councillor and Past President of the Society.
Professor Zablud is the author of “Ä Notary’s Forms and Precedents” and the authoritative reference work “Principles of Notarial Practice”, which has now been sold in 21 countries. His latest book is “Notarizing for International Use – A guide for American Notaries, Attorneys and Public Officials”.
The course teaching staff comprise four present governors of the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries
- The Chairman of the Board of Governors Mr. Joseph Lukatis RFD, FSNV, FANZCN
- Governor and Secretary of the Board of Governors Mr. Paul Cariss FSNV, FANZCN
- Victorian Governor and President of the Society of Notaries of Victoria, Mr John Pearce FSNV, FANZCN
- Victorian Governor, Mr Michael Bula FSNV, FANZCN
Professor Zablud is also assisted by the Associate Director of Notarial Studies, Mr. Phillip Hamilton, RFD, FANZCN, the Victoria Law School academic staff and occasional presenters from the Society of Notaries of Victoria and the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries.
The Course is delivered over a period of 12 weeks. It involves three days of compulsory “face to face” workshops, as well as on-line study. Assessment comprises practical problem solving exercises and the submission of a number of essays. Students who successfully complete the Course will be eligible for “recognition of prior learning” for the following units in the Graduate Diploma of Notarial Practice and the Master of Notarial Science programmes.
- BLO5004 Applied Notarial Practice
- BLO5002 Principles of Notarial Practice
To qualify for admission to the programme, all students must hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from a recognized Australian University.
Mode of study
The Professional Course in Notarial Practice is delivered by a combination of distance, self-paced learning, written assessment and attendance at three days of compulsory practical workshops on notarial practice.
The Course comprises three modules. The modular structure and flexible teaching approach has been designed to enable practitioners, including overseas, interstate and country practitioners, to readily undertake the Course.
Expand the three modules below for a detailed overview:
Module 1 – Applied Notarial Practice
This module aims to provide students with an in depth, practical knowledge of the work of Australian notaries including a detailed understanding of notarial acts in public and private forms and instruction in a notary’s rights, obligations and duties. On completion of the module, students will demonstrate ability to draft acts in public and private form and identify practical problems faced in daily practice
The module comprises face to face workshops over three days and is the only component of the programme with a fixed time commitment. During the workshops, there will be several practical exercises. Following the workshops, two assessment tasks will be released to be completed by specified due dates. Those tasks relate to the practical exercises which were undertaken during the workshops.
- the history of the notariat
- the notariat generally in civil law and common law jurisdictions and in the USA
- the office of notary in Australia
- functions and powers of notaries in Australia and New Zealand
- notarial acts in public and private forms
- oaths, affirmations, declarations and affidavits
- noting and protesting bills of exchange
- ship protests
- identification of individuals in their own right and in representative capacities
- powers of attorney
- dealing with foreign language documents
- electronic notarisation
- legalisation and the Hague Apostille Convention
- fees and costs
- professional conduct
- liability in contract and in tort
- understanding and responding to cultural diversity
- practical aspects of notarial practice.
Module 2 – Principles of Notarial Practice
This module is aimed at providing students with a theoretical background and understanding of the subjects and issues covered during the Applied Notarial Practice workshop.
On completion of the module, students will demonstrate their understanding of the theoretical bases of notarial practice in Australia, the major civil law jurisdictions and in the USA. This module is delivered online and the time required to complete it is six weeks. Assessment requires completion of five essays of 1,000 words each.
There is some flexibility in the length of time that can be allowed depending on a student’s circumstances. Support is provided by the Cowen Centre’s teaching staff by telephone or e-mail. Students receive a comprehensive study guide for this self-paced module and as enrolled students have full access to the Library and other resources to support their studies.
In this module, students will examine, among other things:
- the theory and function of notarial acts
- the authentication of documents emanating from Australia and New Zealand for production abroad
Module 3 – Introduction to Comparative Law and Private International Law
This module is aimed at providing students with an introduction to the civil law and common law legal traditions and to the resolution of conflicts of laws between those traditions.
On completion of the module, students will demonstrate their understanding of the laws of a number of the major foreign jurisdictions and their ability to negotiate those laws in practice. This module is delivered online and the time required to complete it is six weeks. The assessment requires completion of a range of problem solving case studies and four essays of 1,000 words each.
There is some flexibility in the length of time that can be allowed depending on a student’s circumstances. Support is provided by the Cowen Centre’s teaching staff by telephone or e-mail. Students receive a comprehensive study guide for this self-paced unit and as enrolled students have full access to the Library and other resources to support their learning.
In this module, students will examine, among other things:
- attempts to find common transnational standards in trade and commerce
- modern comparative law methodology
- the role of the notariat in international trade and commerce