Need good legal advice?

BC Notaries MUST give legal advice, just like lawyers

One of the most important parts of our jobs as BC Notaries is giving our clients legal advice.

Actually, we must give our clients legal advice, or we are not meeting our professional standard of care.

Legal advice helps our clients:

  • clarify goals
  • understand options
  • catch potential problems
  • think through the consequences of their actions
  • make good decisions

Yes, you can trust legal advice from a BC Notary

You can rely on the legal advice your BC Notary gives you. Our professional work must be to the same standard of care as any properly trained and experienced real estate lawyer.

Real estate law is complex, and not for the faint of heart. Your home is one of the most significant assets you will ever own, so you want trained professionals helping you who know the law, and are current with professional practice standards.

In fact, BC Notaries often have more legal training and experience in conveyancing than many lawyers when it comes to residential conveyancing.

Did you know it is entirely possible for a lawyer to practice in real estate law without ever taking a course in real estate? Lawyers aren't required to take courses in their practice area, either during their initial degree, or in their ongoing continuing education.

While a good lawyer will go out of their way to get on-topic education and training so they can meet the appropriate professional standards, it's simply not a requirement for lawyers to have "on topic" training or education before they practice in real estate.

But while you can find lawyers with no on-topic education practicing real estate law, the same isn't true for BC Notaries.

The initial education course for BC Notaries (now a Masters in Applied Legal Studies) focuses significantly on real estate law, as does our ongoing continuing education. We simply cannot practice without a firm grounding in real estate law and practice standards.

BC Notaries carry sigificant professional insurance

What if we get it wrong, you ask?

Well, we are professionals, but that doesn't mean we are perfect. For those situations where we make a mistake, BC Notaries carry professional insurance in the same way lawyers do (because lawyers make mistakes too!). Actually, we carry more professional insurance coverage than lawyers do, which is an important value-add for higher value transactions.

Don't want to take our word for it?

For over 40 years, judges have repeatedly confirmed that BC Notaries have the same obligations as lawyers do when it comes to their work, including providing legal advice:

Dorndorf v. Hoeter (1981)

...The defendant belongs to a calling which maintains similar professional standards and is governed by rules established under the authority of the Notaries Act ... by the Chief Justice of this court. It is a profession which has long enjoyed public confidence in this province in matters of real property conveyancing. I have no doubt that the plaintiffs would have been entitled, in the circumstances, to place the same confidence in the defendant's professional independence that they would had he been in fact a solicitor of this court.

Dorndorf v. Hoeter, 1981 CanLII 756 (BC SC) at paragraph 36.

Flandro v. Mitha (1992)

... the standard applicable to a notary does not differ from that of a solicitor. There is ample authority to that effect.

Flandro v. Mitha, 1992 CanLII 798 (BC SC)

Normak Investments Ltd. v. Belciug (2015)

...a solicitor's duties of care in contract and in tort are the same. Further, it is not an issue on this litigation that ... a notary public doing conveyancing and mortgage transactions, was subject to the same standard of care that would govern a solicitor doing like work...

Normak Investments Ltd. v. Belciug, 2015 BCSC 700 (CanLII) at paragraph 69.

Call us. We would be happy to help you with your real estate needs.