|UNAA Code of Ethics|
|Written by Linda Admin|
|Thursday, 21 June 2007 00:40|
A Notary owes a duty to clients to be competent to perform the services that the Notary undertakes. The Notary should serve the public in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner, and should provide a quality of service at least equal to that which would generally be expected of a competent Notary in a similar situation. A Notary should not offer advice nor should they provide a service to a client whose requirements are such that they exceed the Notary's competence or scope of duties under their state laws and guidelines. Instead, the Notary should endeavor to direct the client to those from whom the client may obtain such advice and service. The context of this goes beyond formal qualification of the Notary's scope of duties. It has to do with the sufficiency of the Notary's qualification to deal with the matter in question and includes knowledge and skill.
The Objective of this Code is to enhance the professional performance through acceptance and conformity with those standards of ethics and conduct which are necessary elements of a mutually beneficial relationship between notaries public and the general public including other professionals.
I pledge myself to place honesty and integrity above all else, and to pursue my position as a Notary Public with diligent study and dedication in order that my service to my clients shall always be maintained at the highest possible level.
I pledge myself to comply with the principles of my profession as a Notary Public as set forth in this Code of Ethics, Code of Professional Responsibility, and Professional Conduct.
Notaries Public are members of an ancient and honorable profession, the origins of which can be traced back to the early history of civilized legal services.
Notaries Public have served as highly ethical and moral professionals since the pioneer days of the 19th Century and they have always been part of the social fabric of our communities.
In order to maintain their present standing and to evolve and progress in a changing society, Notaries Public must command the trust and respect of the public. This can only be done by maintaining a reputation for integrity and for high standards of skill and care in the work that they perform.
In fulfilling professional responsibilities Notaries Public must attend to many different and sometimes difficult tasks. Not every situation that may be encountered may be foreseen, but some fundamental ethical principles are herein set forth.
The following Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct shall be construed as a general guide, and not as a denial of the existence of other ethical requirements equally imperative though not specifically mentioned.
This Code must be understood and applied in the light of its primary concern for the protection of the public interest.
Integrity and Responsibility to the Public
It is the Notary's duty to be faithful to their clients, candid (always with due regard for confidentiality of information), courteous to fellow notaries, and true to themselves.
Integrity is the fundamental quality of any person who seeks to practice as a member of this profession. If Notaries lack personal integrity their usefulness to their clients and their reputations within the profession will be destroyed, regardless of how competent they may be.
Dishonorable or questionable conduct on the part of a notary, either privately or professionally, will reflect adversely upon the integrity of the profession. Integrity is defined as the soundness of moral principle, especially in relation to truth and fair dealing, honesty, and sincerity. Integrity, decency and honor are prize qualities in almost every sphere of life. The best assurance the client can have is the basic integrity of the Notary Public. Integrity is the fundamental quality, whose absence invalidates all others. It is the duty of every Notary Public to protect the public against fraud and unethical practices.
Competence and Quality of Service.
A Notary owes a duty to clients to be competent to perform the services that the Notary undertakes. The Notary should serve the public in a conscientious, diligent and efficient manner, and should provide a quality of service at least equal to that which would generally be expected of a competent Notary in a similar situation. A Notary should not offer advice nor should they provide a service to a client whose requirements are such that they exceed the Notary's competence or scope of duties under their state laws and guidelines. Instead, the Notary should endeavor to direct the client to those from whom the client may obtain such advice and service. The context of this goes beyond formal qualification of the Notary's scope of duties. It has to do with the sufficiency of the Notary's qualification to deal with the matter in question and includes knowledge and skill. As a member of the Notary profession, a Notary holds themselves out as knowledgeable, skilled and capable in notarial practices. Accordingly, clients are entitled to assume that a Notary has the ability and capacity to deal adequately with matters that they undertake. It follows that a Notary should not undertake a matter unless they honestly believe they are competent to handle it or that they can become competent without undue delay, risk, or expense to the client. If they proceed on any other basis, they are not being honest with their clients. This is an ethical consideration and is to be distinguished from the standard of care that a court would invoke for purposes of determining negligence.
Competence in a particular matter involves more than an understanding of the relevant legal principles; it involves an adequate knowledge of the practices and procedures by which such principles can be effectively applied. Notaries Public should stay advised of developments wherein their practice lies. Notaries must be alert to recognize situations or areas in which they have either not become competent, or have not maintained their competency to perform a particular task, and the disservice they would do their client in undertaking that task. When consulted in such circumstances, they should either decline to act or obtain their client's instructions to retain, consult, or collaborate with another Notary competent in that field.
Notaries who are incompetent do their clients a disservice, and bring discredit on their profession. In addition, they damage their own reputations and practices and may injure those who are associated with or dependent upon them. The Notary's very presence is presumed as an assurance to the public that he or she has the training and diligence to serve them ably and competently.
The standards of care and competence being demanded by the public of all professional bodies is continually rising. Notaries should be aware that society has an obligation not only to ensure the continuing competence of Notaries, but perhaps it's most important responsibility is to prepare for the future by working to increase knowledge and to raise professional standards.
The Notary Public has a duty to hold in strict confidence all information acquired in the course of the professional relationship concerning the business and affairs of a client, and not divulge any such information unless expressly or by implication authorized by the client or required by law to do so. The relationship between the Notary and a client forbids the Notary to use any confidential information for the benefit of the Notary or a third party or to the disadvantage of the client. A Notary must take care to avoid disclosure to one client of confidential information concerning or received from another. The discussion of business relating to other clients, even in a general way, may call into question the Notary's ability to respect the confidential nature of the present client's affairs.
Responsibility to the Notarial Profession
Notaries Public should assist in maintaining the integrity and the honor of the notarial profession and should participate in it's activities. In the best interest of the public, the profession, and themselves, a Notary should be loyal to the Community and active in their practices. All members should willingly share with their fellow notaries the lessons of their experience.
In fairness to those who place their trust in their hands, a Notary should give clients their best efforts at all times. They should strive to be fully informed as to professional duties. They should keep their knowledge of legislation, policies and other essential information up to date both in the interests of the client and their own practice.
No Notary should assume the responsibility of attempting to give a client advice on any matter. A Notary shall not act in any matters, which may give rise to a conflict of interest. A Notary who engages in another profession, business or occupation concurrently must not allow such outside interest to jeopardize their professional integrity, independence or competence.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 04 August 2007 17:48|