Notaries

What is a Notary Public?

A notary public is appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury after meeting minimum standards of approved education and training and being approved as being of good character. They are regulated by the Archbishop’s Faculty Office and the Notaries Society. A notary public is legally qualified and in many cases they will also be practising solicitors, but the two professions are regulated separately. 

What does a Notary Public do?

The function of a notary is to assist with the authentication of documents that will be used overseas. By authenticating the document, the notary helps to ensure that it will be accepted by the appropriate public and judicial authorities in the country in which it will be used.

 For example, a notary might:

  • Certify copies of documents that will be used overseas – such as company documents, personal ID documents, or qualifications.
  • Verify qualifications issued by UK institutions for use overseas.
  • Witness and attest powers of attorney for use in personal transactions overseas such as buying or selling property or taking part in court proceedings.
  • Witness and attest powers of attorney for use in commercial transactions overseas such as setting up a new company or branch office, buying or selling land, appointing agents, or taking part in court proceedings.
  • Witness and attest affidavits or statutory declarations in connection with personal matters such as a declaration of eligibility to enter into marriage for a person wishing to get married abroad, or an affidavit in connection with a missing passport for someone wishing to apply for a foreign visa.
  • Draft a power of attorney, affidavit or statutory declaration.

 What happens when you see a Notary Public? 

  • The notary has to identify each person who is to sign the document. This is best done by using a passport, or in some cases a driving licence with a photograph, or similar identification may be acceptable.
  • The notary will also need to see a recent utility bill, bank statement or other document to prove the address of the person signing.
  • Although the notary does not have to understand in detail the content of a foreign document, he or she must be certain that the person signing it understands it. Therefore, there should be an English translation available or the notary may have to make arrangements for translation as part of the service.
  • The notary will do his or her best to ensure that the requirements of the overseas authorities are met. To assist with this, it will help if you can bring any instructions that you have received from your overseas advisor such as the solicitor dealing with the overseas property transaction or court proceedings or the official who will be overseeing your overseas wedding.
  • Having satisfied these requirements, the Notary will then attest or witness the document by attaching their personal seal which then officially authenticates it.
  • In some cases the document may need to be sent to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and/or the embassy of the country concerned for further legalisation. Your notary can arrange this for you and will inform you of any extra charges.

 What will it cost you?

There are no set charges and the notarial fees are calculated on the basis of time incurred at a rate of £200 per hour. The minimum charge is £100, which will cover straightforward work such as certifying copy documents or witnessing a pre-prepared document such as an affidavit. There will be a charge of £150 for more complex work including verification of qualification and attestation of powers of attorney. Additional work, including drafting and translation will be charged on the basis of time incurred.

 Your notary will advise you of the fee to be charged before starting the notarial work.

 As set out above, there may be additional charges incurred if the document needs to be sent to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and/or the embassy of the country concerned for further legalisation. Your notary can arrange this for you and will inform you of any extra charges. 

Complaints against a Notary Public: 

Notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is located at: The Faculty Office, 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JT and whose website is www.facultyoffice.org.uk. The Faculty Office can be contacted on telephone number 020 7222 5381 or email faculty.office@1thesanctuary.com 

If you are dissatisfied with the service you have received, please do not hesitate to contact Kate Booth, Notary Public. If she is unable to resolve the matter for you, then you may complain to the Notaries Society of which Kate Booth is a member and which has a Complaints Procedure approved by the Faculty Office. This procedure is free to use and is designed to provide a quick resolution to any dispute. Please write with full details of your complaint (but do not enclose any original documentation) to: Secretary of The Notaries Society, Old Church Chambers, 23 Sandhill Road, St James, Northampton NN5 5LH or email secretary@thenotariessociety.org.uk If you have difficulty making a complaint in writing, you may contact the Notaries Society by telephone on 01604 758908. 

Finally, even if you have your complaint considered under the Complaints Procedure, you may at the end of that procedure or after a period of eight weeks from the date you first notified Kate Booth that you were dissatisfied with the service you have received, make your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman if you are not happy with the result. Please note that, if you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you must contact them within six months from the conclusion of the complaint process. Their address is: Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ; their telephone number is 0300 555 0333; their email address is enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk and their website is www.legalombudsman.org.uk

 

 

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