Below are answers to some of the questions I am most frequently asked about Notarisation.
What is a Notary Public?
A notary public is a legal officer who is qualified to provide notarial services. The notary is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury which also issues a practising certificate to him/her annually. Notaries are the smallest of the three legal professions in England and Wales in terms of numbers but are also the oldest, their origins dating back to Roman times. The notary’s main function is to assist the client with execution of legal documents for use worldwide, ensuring that the formalities for execution are followed here and in the country where the documents will be used. The signature and seal of the notary is accepted as that of a legal officer whose office can be relied upon in most parts of the world.
Notaries also take and administer oaths and provide certified copies of documents.
Sometimes additional formalities, such as confirmation of my signature by the Foreign and Commonwelath Office (apostille) may be required and/or production to the embassy or consulate of the country concerned (consularisation). I can assist you with any such requirements and we can establish at the outset if any of them are required.
What does the Notary Public do?
The identity of the client must always be checked, usually by seeing various documents including a current passport or driving licence and separate proof of address (see further under “Identification” below.)
The client’s signature will be witnessed and the notary will make sure that the formalities required by both English law and that of the country where the document will be used are observed.
The notary will need to know that any facts stated in the document are correct and may need confirmation to that effect. One of the main purposes of notarisation is to ensure that the document can be relied upon and the notary must therefore take steps to ensure that this is so.
Before I can undertake any work for you I have to be certain of your identity. This is not only my professional duty as a Notary Public but is now also essential in view of the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations and other legislation. After I have done this I am also required to retain copies of the documentation supplied.
Please see paragraph 4 of my attached Terms of Business for a more detailed statement of requirements but in brief I will need to see one of the following (in preferred order):-
- Current passport (or, if not available)
- Driving licence (photocard)
- UK government or police issue certificate bearing a photo or other means of identification
- Identity Card (EEA states)
I also need proof of your residential address. This can be satisfied by production of the driving licence original or one of the following original additional documents (not copies from internet) showing your current address:-
- Utility bill (not a mobile phone account)
- Bank statement (not a credit card account)
- Council Tax bill
The first two items above should not be more than three months old.
When instructed by a company or other body I will also need (in addition to the above documentation for each signatory) to see originals of the following:-
- Evidence of identity of the authorised signatory (as listed above)
- A copy of the current letterhead (showing the registered office if it is a company)
- A Letter of Authority, Minute, Resolution or Power of Attorney authorising you to sign the document
Additionally, companies: Certificate of Incopororation and of any Change of Name, a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association, Details of Directors and Secretaries. In all instances I will be carrying out company searches, which may have an effect on the level of fees charged.
Additionally, partnerships, clubs etc: A Partnership Agreement; or relevant Trust Deed; or Charter, or Constitution/Rules.
Your documents may be written in a foreign language. If so, they sometimes come with a translation into English. If not, and particularly if you do not speak the language in question, it will be necessary for an accurate translation to be supplied by a competent translator, here or in the country where the document was prepared. I will need to be sure that you understand the contents and effect of the document.
Making an appointment
If you need my services you will need to make an appointment. Also, please do not hesitate to phone or email me if you need an informal initial discussion before taking matters further.
When we have fixed an appointment for the execution of your documents I recommend that you take a little time in preparation as follows, please:
- Forward by email copies of your document and any communication from whoever sent it to you so that we can establish how it is to be executed and if apostille/consularisation is required.
- Ensure that you have your ID documentation ready for each person who is to be a signatory.
- Ensure that in the case of a company or other entity you are in possession of the additional documentation required (as mentioned above). It is useful if this can also be produced to me before our meeting.
Appointments for straightforward matters take about 15 minutes to complete. The amount of time taken on more complicated items obviously depends on the nature and complexity of the transaction.
How much will it cost?
In straightforward cases I will eneavour to offer a fixed fee, including any disbursements such as any Apostille and Embassy charges, consular agent fees, courier fees, travelling expenses, translator or interpreter fees, and postage, to be agreed in advance. In more complex matters my charges are calculated in accordance with my current charging rate (£170 per hour) subject to the addition of any disbursements as referred to above. VAT is not charged at present. All charges, or the method of calculating them in more complicated cases, and disbursements will be disclosed to you and need to be agreed before I begin any notarial work.
Oaths and Statutory Declarations for use within England and Wales made before me in the capacity of a Commissioner for Oaths and not of a Notary Public will be costed at the statutory rate of £5.00 per oath/declaration and £2.00 for each additional document requiring endorsement.
Please also see paragraph 10 of my annexed Terms of Business for more details.
Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notice
Please refer to the above for matters relating to Data Protection, Notarial Records and related matters.
Terms of Business
Please refer to my Terms of Business for a more detailed statement of various matters referred to above plus my Complaints Procedure, Typical Stages of a Notarial Transaction, Indemnity Insurance and Rights of Cancellation