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FAQs

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A Notary lawyer is often required to certify and authenticate documents that are destined to be used abroad. It is a separate profession to the Solicitor’s profession, but bears many similarities. Often parties abroad such as banks and Governmental bodies specifically require a ‘Notary Seal and signature to documents that are signed here.

The Notary’s signature and seal will verify to a party in a foreign jurisdiction that any relevant checks have been carried out and that the document has been properly signed.

There may be a requirement that an apostille is required and following that, Embassy legalisation and in that regard we can assist you with our in-house dedicated consular team.

Many countries also require notarised documents to be ‘legalised’. Legalisation is a double check to make sure that the notaries’ signature is genuine and recognised by the U.K Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Documents may also be checked by foreign embassies to make sure that the Notary’s signature matches the one on their records. The requirement for this will depend on the foreign country involved. Once the authenticity of the signature is confirmed a certificate is attached, called an “Apostille”.

Notaries form a small, highly specialised branch of the legal profession, whose area of specialisation is the preparation and certification of documents so that they may be used effectively abroad.

Solicitors form by far the largest part of the legal profession. They provide advice and representation to their clients on a wide variety of legal issues, usually within the legal framework of their country of residence.

One important difference between a Notary and a solicitor is that whereas a solicitor’s primary duty is to his client, the Notary’s primary duty is to the transaction and the authenticity of the documents. As Notary Public’s are recognised worldwide, they have to maintain absolute integrity and impartiality to maintain the standing of the Notarial profession.

If a document requiring notarisation is in a foreign language it is usually necessary for the document to be translated by an official legal translator who will then have to sign a statutory declaration certifying that it is a true translation.

In exceptional cases the Notary may be satisfied to fix their seal of office and signature on documents in a foreign language if they are fully satisfied that the person signing is conversant with the language of the document.

Following the implementation of the Money Laundering Regulations 2003, notaries are now obliged to keep sufficient evidence on their files of the identity and the address of all their clients before they undertake any work.

Each person whose signature they are to certify must provide one of the following original identification documents at the time of the appointment.

  • Passport
  • UK Driving licence
  • National identity card (EEA state members)

In addition, they require proof of residence, which can be one of the following original documents:

  • Bank statement or letter from bank
  • Utility bill or council tax bill (not mobile phone bill)
  • Tenancy agreement or Housing Association rent card
  • Inland revenue tax demand
  • When a Notary Public is acting for a corporate client, evidence of the due incorporation of the company or entity is required. This can be one of the following documents:
  • Extract from the company register
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Latest report and audited accounts
  • Up to date certified copy of partnership agreement
  • Evidence of being regulated by a regulatory body such as the Law Society or FSA.

In addition to the above, each individual signatory will need to produce one of the identification documents mentioned above.

An early indication of the costs can usually be given in advance but so that we can establish the charges please tell us the following:

  • What service you need – witnessing signatures, certifying copy documents, obtaining Apostille etc
  • The type of documents concerned – for instance is it a Power of Attorney that you need witnessing
  • Who is signing or presenting the documents – are they personal papers or for a Company?
  • How many documents are there?
  • Which country they are to go to.

We accept payment by cash, card and credit or debit card.

We can also issue invoices to our regular business clients for payment at a convenient time.

Unfortunately, we do not accept payments made by cheque.

  • A copy of the document or documents which require the seal and signature of the notary. Please do not sign, date or have the document witnessed before the appointment. It is usually required that this is done in my presence as the notary public. It is preferable for me to have an electronic copy of the document, as I can then make any necessary amendments prior to our appointment.
  • A copy of any instructions which have been provided by the lawyer or foreign notary who prepared the document.
  • ID (required forms shown on my services page)
  • Payment