A Notary is an officer of the law whose public office and duty is to prepare and authenticate documents for use overseas. The signature and seal of a Notary are internationally recognised as proof of the matters certified by him, which is why “notarisation” is often requested by the authorities in the country where the document is to be used. If a document has to be signed outside of the country in which it is to be used, the authorities in that country cannot confirm for themselves that the necessary formalities have been complied with; so, instead, a Notary is relied upon to provide that confirmation. It is also frequently necessary for a notarised document to be sent to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office or a foreign embassy so that the Notary’s signature and seal can be verified – by obtaining a certificate called an “Apostille” or by a process called “legalisation”. Our Notarial services include:
- Notarising the execution and contents of documents
- Individual or company powers of attorney for use worldwide
- Certified copy documents
- Administration of oaths and declarations
- Affidavits and depositions: taking evidence in England for use in foreign courts
- Certifying translations
- Lost passports, birth certificates, credit cards and other documents
- Property documents for use worldwide
- Certifying the execution of commercial contracts for international use
- Certification of identity of directors and company secretaries
- Notarised company documents including Certificates of Incorporation or Good Standing, Memorandum and Articles of Association and internal records
- Statutory declarations and verifications in connection with marriage abroad, change of name deed preparation and notarisation, education certificates and qualification, emigration and immigration, adoption, guardianship
It is also frequently necessary for a notarised document to be sent to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office or a foreign embassy so that the Notary’s signature and seal can be verified – by obtaining a certificate called an “Apostille” or by a process called “legalisation”. We can advise on these requirements – and the form of the documentation – which vary from country to country.
The above list is not exhaustive, we also have experience in advising on the legal aspects of a wide variety of other international transactions from commercial matters to overseas property with an extensive network of overseas contacts to assist with advice in other jurisdictions.
Please see below the following additional Price, Service and Complaints information.
Our fees are calculated by reference an hourly rate of £250 and there is a minimum transaction fee of £100.
Once we have seen any document(s) and any instructions sent to you, we should be able to give you a firm indication or an estimate of the likely charges.
Some documents require legalisation before they will be accepted for use in the receiving jurisdiction by obtaining an apostille through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and, for some countries, additional legalisation is required through the relevant embassy or consulate.
Payments on your behalf: we may have to pay legalisation fees to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and/or a Foreign Embassy. There might be translation or interpreter fees. Other payments (including travelling expenses, company search fees and telegraphic transfer fees) may also be required. Your approval of these will be obtained and you are normally required to make payment in advance of any such amounts.
Each notarial matter is different and the requirements will vary according to whether the client is a private individual or a company. Some of the typical key stages are likely to include:
- Receiving and reviewing the documents to be notarised together with any instructions you may have received
- Liaising with your legal advisors or other bodies to obtain the necessary documentation to deal with the document (e.g. information from Companies House or foreign registries, powers of attorney etc)
- Checking the identity, capacity and authority of the person who is to sign the document
- If a document is to be certified, checking with the issuing authorities that the document/award is genuine. In the case of academic awards, this would entail checking with the appropriate academic institutions.
- Meeting with the signatory to verify their identity and to ascertain that they understand what they are signing and that they are doing so of their own free will and ensuring that the document is executed correctly
- Drafting and affixing or endorsing a notarial certificate to the document
- Arranging for the legalisation of the document as appropriate
- Arranging for the storage of copies of all notarised documents
If the document is straightforward, already prepared and in the correct form we would hope to be able to deal with it within an hour. Obviously, it will take longer if the document is not straightforward or if we have to draw it up ourselves. Many countries want documents to be countersigned by their London Embassies (legalisation) and this will take several days unless you want to take them to the Embassy in person and wait in line. The fees and procedures for this vary widely but we will be able to give you a reasonably accurate idea of the time and cost.
Professional indemnity insurance at a level of at least £1,000,000 is maintained.
If you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact us.
If we are unable to resolve the matter you may then complain to the Notaries Society of which we are members, who have a Complaints Procedure which is approved by the Faculty Office. This procedure is free to use and is designed to provide a quick resolution to any dispute.
In that case please write (but do not enclose any original documents) with full details of your complaint to:
Secretary of The Notaries Society
PO Box 7655
Tel : 01604 758908
If you have any difficulty in making a complaint in writing please do not hesitate to call the Notaries Society/the Faculty Office for assistance.
Finally, even if you have your complaint considered under the Notaries Society Approved Complaints Procedure, you may at the end of that procedure, or after a period of 6 months from the date you first notified me that you were dissatisfied, make your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman*, if you are not happy with the result:
P O Box 6806
Tel: 0300 555 0333
If you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman:
- Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint; and
- Six years from the date of act/omission; or
- Three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint (only if the act or omission took place more than six years ago).
The act or omission, or when you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010.
*certain kinds of commercial entities are not eligible to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman – please refer to the Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules or consult the Faculty Office
Regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury
The Faculty Office
1 The Sanctuary