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06 Certified Copies


Summary

More than 70% of all JP witnessing work involves certifying that a copy of a document is a true and complete (identical) copy of the original that the JP has sighted. This allows the owner to retain the original document and give certified copies to all organisations that request them.

The original may be any written or printed document and typical examples are driver licences and other cards, passports, birth/marriage/death certificates and educational qualifications. Take an appropriate amount of time to check comparison points such as logos, headings, paragraphs, layout, numbers between the original and copy.

Increasingly the client may present the original document on an electronic device such as a mobile phone or laptop. In this case the original is classified as a download which should be noted in the log book. However do not certify a copy of a photo of an identity document such as a driver licence or passport shown on an electronic device.

Process for Single Page Originals

  1. Ask the person for an identity document to record in your log book.
  2. Very carefully compare the original document on paper or electronic device with the copy to ascertain the copy is a true and complete (identical) copy of the original. No changes of information can appear on the copy.
  3. Write/stamp this certificate wording on the copy:

    This is to certify that this is a true copy of the original, which I have sighted.

  4. Add the date, your name, signature, and seal with registration number.

Process for Two or more Copies on a Single Page

Repeat the certification process for single page originals for each copy on the page. Place the certificate wording, date, name, signature and seal with registration number adjacent to each copy. In other words one seal per copy.

If the client has not left sufficient space on the page for multiple certificate wordings, place a single, altered certificate wording with a single date, your name, signature, and seal with registration number:

This is to certify that these are true copies of the x originals, which I have sighted.

Place appropriate numbers against each copy.

Process for Multiple Page Originals

Generating a large number of certified copies is a lengthy process so a shorthand process is available for certifying copies of individual documents with many pages.
  1. Ask the person for an identity document to record in your log book.
  2. Very carefully compare the original multi-page document on paper or electronic device with the copy to ascertain the pages of the copy are a true and complete (identical) copy of the original. No changes of information can appear on the copy.
  3. Write/stamp this certificate wording on the last page of the copy, in addition you may also wish to repeat this on the first page:

    This is to certify that this [number of pages]-page document (each page of which I have numbered and initialled) is a true copy of the original [number of pages]-page document that I have sighted.

  4. On the first page add the date, your name, signature, and seal with registration number.
  5. On subsequent pages write 2 of 19, 3 of 19 and so on, and initial each page.

Powers of Attorney Documents and Advanced Health Directives

The Powers of Attorney Act 1998 s.14 and s.45 defines how a certified copy for a General/Enduring Power of Attorney and an Advanced Health Directive is to be completed. Using the "copy" stamp is not valid. A complete copy of a G/EPA/AHD should include all pages in the original document. This includes title page, instruction sheets, pages with completed form fields, and blank pages.
  • The last page must be certified that this is a true and complete copy of the original G/EPA/AHD. This must be signed, dated, sealed, named, qualification. This may also be placed on the front page.
  • Every other page must be certified that this is a true and complete copy of the corresponding page of the original G/EPA/AHD. This requires signature, name and date.

Notes

  • A valid certified copy may be made at a reduced magnification or an increased magnification of the original, provided all content of the original is legible on the copy.
  • A certifying stamp should not cover written/pictorial information on the document.
  • Copies of originals in foreign languages can be certified. Look for numbers and special characters as comparison points. Alternately if a photocopier is available make a copy in your sight.
  • Most signing sites maintain a certified copies limit in the 10-15 documents range. If there are other clients waiting after this number of copies, the current client is asked to join the back of the queue and come round again.

References

  • JP Handbook, Chapter 11
  • QJA Guide, Chapter 10
  • JP Bulletin Issue 11, July 2016, pages 13 and 14
  • JP Bulletin Issue 4, August 2014, pages 7 and 8
  • Powers of Attorney Act 1998