A Notary Public is a qualified lawyer who is appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and is regulated by the Court of Faculties. The profession of Notary is a separate one to that of a solicitor, although most Notaries are also solicitors, with their work being carried out in a solicitors practice for insurance purposes only.
The function of a Notary is to prepare, attest, witness, authenticate and certify deeds and other documents for use anywhere in the world.
By authenticating (or notorising) the document, the Notary ensures that the document will be accepted by the public and judicial authorities in the country in which the transaction or the court proceedings will take place.
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 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 must be certain that the person signing it understands it. Therefore, if possible, there should be an English translation available.
If you have been sent an overseas document there should be a letter of instruction with it as to that country's authentication requirements, which the Notary will need to see.
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 or the embassy of the country concerned for further validation. Your Notary will inform you of this and of any extra charges.
There are no set charges and the Notaries fees are fixed on a time spent basis. As from January 2007 the minimum fee for notarial work is £90. This fee will cover most straightforward jobs lasting no more than 20 minutes. For more complex matters the fee will increase accordingly. You should be aware that there could be additional fees to pay for example to an Embassy or to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
If you have a complaint please do not hesitate to let the Notary know. If the matter cannot be immediately resolved the Notary will refer your complaint to the Notaries Society. Or, you can complain to the Society yourself. Their address is: The Secretary, Notaries Society, Old Church Chambers, 23 Sandhill Road, St James, Northampton, NN5 5LH, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are not satisfied with the handling of your complaint under the Notaries Society Approved Complaints Procedure you may, at the end of that procedure or after a period of 8 weeks from the date of making your complaint to the Notary, ask the Legal Ombudsman to review the matter.
Their address is The Legal Ombudsman, Baskerville House, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2ND, Tel: 0300 555 0333, www.legalombudsman.org.uk
For further details or to make an appointment then please contact: Kate Booth 01484 821 309 or click here.
Notaries Public, Eaton Smith, 14 High Street, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, HD1 2HA