In 1801, Parliament passed the Public Notaries Act, under which only members of the Company could become scrivener notaries. Historically, scrivener notaries were the only notaries public permitted to practice in the City of London, the liberties of Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and the area within three miles of the City. Due to their geographical proximity to the embassies of many civil law countries, scrivener notaries are only appointed after a five year apprenticeship to a practicing scrivener notary. Scrivener notaries must be fluent in one or two foreign languages and be familiar with the principles and practice of foreign law. The historical privilege of scrivener notaries was abolished by the Access to Justice Act 1999, since when any public notary may practice in the City of London and surrounding area. Nonetheless, the Company still retains the power to set standards and qualifications for London's scrivener notaries.
In the order of precedence of the Livery Companies of London, the Scriveners' Company is forty-fourth. The motto of the Company is Littera Scripta Manet, Latin for the Written Word Remains.
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