I started making some ‘notes' during the first ‘Master Class' which I had the privilege of arranging in Marbella.  It was to be insurance in case a speaker couldn't turn up.  By the time of the second Master Class in Bergerac, I was prepared but not needed and for the third in Gerona I was needed but not prepared.  As you will see I am still preparing for the fourth in 2009.

So the notes continue and where they were originally intended as notes for a lecture, they are now so long that I could talk for days.  Heaven forbid.  The thought then came of publishing them as a booklet to help students orientate themselves in time to some of the landmarks known to an English Notary.  I haven't always taken the most accurate historical version, in fact more often the version that seems more memorable to me or simply more amusing.  I wanted my lecture to be interesting and occasionally informative, not a history lesson.

The subject was easy.  I had always had a question over why there are different qualities of notary and more importantly how these came about.  The Latin notaries have the greater powers and most judicial clout, spreading from South America through to Europe.  Then the English came a poor second but let it be said some countries have an awful system (USA but there is a new breed of legally qualified civil law notaries) and some have none at all (Scandinavia) and some where the independence of the notary is in doubt by being employed by the State (China and others).

Then there was that eternal question, why do Notarial students have to study Roman Law, after all there aren't many Romans in Oswaldtwistle. I have tried to give some reason for the torture.

Hopefully all will improve as we have done with the passing of the Civil Procedure rule 32.20.  The question was, in my mind, how did the differences occur?  I decided to ask only one portion of the question, how did the basic difference come about between Europe and England.  I hope I have given all students not an answer, because I am not sure there is one, but room for thought.

There is a bibliography to give credit to all those scholars I have appealed to but there are few exact quotes because I have never intended this to be a history or a prescribed book.  I hope readers learn things whilst having a chuckle and I hope often say "well, I never knew that".

I must also mention my colleagues from abroad met in conjunction with my meetings of UINL.  The meetings yield much but the coffee shop more.

Finally, thanks to my many friends on Council who have contributed directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly to these notes.  The Notaries Council Chamber is one of the friendliest places in Town.

Peter J Lawson NP

February 2008

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The English Notary’s Place in History

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The English Notary's Place in History