What is a Notary? A Notary is a qualified lawyer who deals mainly with documents intended for use outside the UK. Many notaries also practise as solicitors.
A notary is usually needed when a person is arranging to buy or sell a foreign property, moving or working abroad, arranging for relatives or friends to visit from other countries or where a company has offices abroad or is entering into a contract with a foreign business.
Notarial work is very varied and may involve notarising a form to enable the payment of a foreign pension or notarising a statement (protest) given by the captain of a foreign ship which has been damaged by the elements on its way to it destination causing loss to its owners.
When signing a document, the notary certifies its authenticity by adding his or her signature and seal. Many foreign countries also require an Apostille certificate. This is obtained from the Foreign and Commonwealth certificate and is proof that the notary is qualified and that their seal is genuine. Certain countries also require their London-based Embassy to certify the notarised document and this processes are usually dealt with by the notary.
There are approximately 775 notaries in England and Wales and many of these also practise as solicitors.
What do I need to bring to an appointment with a Notary?
Most documents intended for use abroad must be prepared by a lawyer in that country. You will need to bring the original document/s which are to be notarised together with any instructions you have received. Every transaction is different and certain countries or certain foreign lawyers may specify everything from the wording to be used to whether handwritten amendments are permitted to the colour of ink which the notary may use.
You will need to provide the Notary with your passport and a utility bill confirming your residential address. In most cases a personal appointment is required and the notary must be able to confirm your identification.
The Notary will need to be satisfied that you understand any document before you sign it especially if the document is not in English. In some cases, a translation will be needed.
|Price, Service, Redress and Regulatory Information
Our fee is calculated by reference to the nature and complexity of the work and the amount of time spent, knowledge required and responsibility involved. Our fees will be subject to an agreed scope of work.
Our minimum fee for any notarial matter that requires a notarial certificate is £110 and for certifying a copy document, £50 for a Passport and £60 for any other document.
We will be required to incur third party expenses on your behalf which we will include on our invoice to you. We will endeavour to provide an estimate of all third party costs at the outset of the matter. Third party costs and taxes are not included in our fee estimate.
How Long Will My Matter Take?
The appointment with the notary will generally take no more than one hour.
How long the matter will take from start to finish will depend on a number of variables including whether any of the following are required: translations; additional ancillary documentation from third parties; the drafting of additional documents by the notary; and/or liaising with your overseas lawyers or other advisors.
After being notarised, some documents must be legalised in order to be accepted in the country in which they are to be used. Legalisation is the process by which the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office attaches a certificate to a notarised document to certify that a signatory holds the office of the notary public and to certify the genuineness of the notary’s signature and seal of office on a document. If required, some embassies and consulates can provide further certification of the office and genuineness of the signature of the UK FCO consular officer. The extent of legalisation required depends on the requirements of the country in which the notarised document is to be used. The time that embassies and consulates take to legalise documents varies and can be unpredictable.
We will endeavour to provide an estimated timeframe for completion of the matter once a scope of work is agreed. However, for the reasons set out above, timings cannot be guaranteed.
Further information on our fees, third party costs and the stages involved in a notarial matter can be found below.
Our notarial services are provided by Roger William Arnold Morris and Rhian Williams. Our practice is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Our notarial services include notarial services regulated under the Legal Services Act 2007, legal services ancillary to these activities and the administration of oaths.
What Our Work Will Cover – The Stages Involved in a Notarial Matter
|The precise stages involved vary according to the circumstances. However, below are some typical key stages involved in a notarial matter:
· Receiving and reviewing the relevant documents to ascertain what is required;
· Liaising with legal and other advisors to obtain all necessary documentation to allow the notary to deal with the document (e.g. company constitution; company books; board minutes; powers of attorney; copies of documents referred to; information as to applicable foreign law);
· Reviewing all ancillary documentation to verify that the signatory has the power; legal capacity; and authority to sign the relevant document;
· Liaising with third parties to verify any documents as necessary (e.g. checking with academic institutions that they have issued a degree certificate in the form presented to us);
· Meeting with the signatory to verify their identity to discuss the document and the background to the matter to ensure: the signatory understands what the document does; that they have the mental capacity to enter into it and that they are entering into it of their own free will; and to ensure appropriate execution of the document;
· Preparing and affixing a notarial certificate to the document as necessary and applying the notary’s official seal of office;
· Arranging for legalisation of the notarised document by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and any relevant embassies or consulates;
· Arranging for the permanent storage of copies of all notarised documents.
|We will normally provide a fixed fee for a notarial matter. If we do not provide a fixed fee, we will charge fees primarily by reference to the amount of time spent on your matter. This will include, but is not limited to: preliminary advice; preparation; attendances; drafting; phone calls; correspondence; legalisation and record keeping.
If any unforeseen or unusual issues arise during the course of the matter we may need to revise our fee estimate. Examples include where: additional documents are required to be notarised; additional liaising with your advisors is required; or additional translations or legalisations are required due to the requirements of the country in which your document is to be used.
Additional work outside of the agreed scope will be charged at the hourly rate of the Notary which will be advised to you. We will notify you at an appropriate juncture if any additional work is required.
Third Party Costs
|We will be required to incur third party expenses on your behalf which we will include on our invoice to you. We will endeavour to provide an estimate of all third party costs at the outset of the matter.
The following is a list of typical costs involved in a notarial matter. This list is not exhaustive and others may apply depending on the circumstances of the matter.
· Foreign and Commonwealth Office Legalisation* Fees:
o £30 per document plus £5.50 postage – Standard Postal Service (1-2 weeks)
o £50 per documents plus postage – ‘Fast Track’ – 3/4 days
· Consular Legalisation Fees – these vary from £15 to over £400 per document depending on the consulate and type of document*
· Fees for searches/documents from UK or overseas public registers – these are generally no more than £20 per search
· UK or International Delivery Courier Fees – these vary depending on weight and destination
* Fees charged by Embassies and Consulates vary over time and can be charged in foreign currency meaning that it is not always possible to provide a precise figure in advance.
** We do not arrange for documents to be translated.
The firm is insured for the provision of notarial services by its notary for at least £1,000,000.
Our notarial services are provided by Jonathan Phillip Hewitt whose practice is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Faculty Office, 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JT
Telephone: 020 7222 5381
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 Roger William Arnold Morris and Rhian Williams 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:
Christopher Vaughan, Secretary, The Notaries Society, Old Church Chambers, 23 Sandhill Road, St James, Northampton NN5 5LH.
If you have any difficulty making a complaint in writing, please do not hesitate to call The Notaries Society for assistance.
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 us that you were dissatisfied, make your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, if you are not happy with the result:
Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
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 from the conclusion of the complaint process.