Wednesday, 6 April, 2022

The FCDO has recently updated its policy on providing apostilles on UK birth, marriage certificates.

An apostille is a Government certificate certifying the signature/seal of a public official, in this case a Registrar of births, marriages and deaths. In the past, the FCDO’s Legalisation Office would make checks to verify the registrar’s signature. This will no longer happen. Certified copies of the entry of birth, marriage or death must bear a General Register Office seal in order to be accepted for an apostille.

As before, apostilles will not be affixed to photocopies of such certificates.

To save time that would otherwise be lost where birth, marriage or death certificates are rejected by the Legalisation Office, customers are advised to a obtain a certified copy of the respective entry from the General Register Office – which will have the necessary seal.

Please see: http://www.gov.uk/order-copy-birth-death-marriage-certificate


Wednesday, 2 March, 2022

If you have any questions about documents that need notarising or legalising for Ukraine, please let me know. I will do my best to help support Ukrainian citizens who have notarial requirements during the current invasion of their country.

Documents for Russia & Belarus

Wednesday, 2 March, 2022

The United Kingdom Government’s Legalisation Office has informed notaries that it will continue legalising (issuing apostilles on) documents destined for use in Russia and Belarus at the present time. No doubt this could change.

Notaries are required to comply with the Government’s latest sanctions regulations: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/russia-sanctions-guidance/russia-sanctions-guidance. 

ID – home address evidence

Wednesday, 26 January, 2022

Increasing levels of fraud in this country and overseas are causing many financial services providers to tighten their anti-money laundering procedures. Sometimes this involves a request for a copy of evidence of an individual’s home address to be notarised. This will often take the form of a copy of a utility or council tax bill linking the person to an address. It is common for there to be a requirement that the document is dated within a specific period, say the last three months. Since United Kingdom driving licenses can be up to 10 years old, they are of limited use as evidence of address.

If I am asked to notarise a copy of a utility bill or similar, I will need to see either the original document, if it was issued in paper form, or the original electronic document on the website of the issuing body. To verify an electronic document, you will need to (a) bring a printed copy of the electronic document and (b) when we meet, have access to a device on which you can enter the relevant website with your log-in details so that I can compare the printed copy with the original electronic document. (To be clear, I do not wish to have access to your login details.)


Tuesday, 6 July, 2021

We are in a period of transition in our response to COVID-19. While legal regulations are being cut down, there is increasing responsibility on individuals to take appropriate precautions to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and to protect those who are vulnerable.

I continue to provide notarial and legalisation services where this can be done safely and within national guidelines. These services can be critical for people and businesses who need to manage their overseas legal affairs. 

Some notarial acts can be done remotely, for example where I am certifying a Companies House certificate. Most notarial assignments involve me physically witnessing a person sign a document. In most cases this cannot be done remotely, in part because most destination countries would not recognise it. I am offering notarial services provided that:

  • I am free from COVID-19 symptoms and not isolating.
  • You confirm that you and your household are free from COVID-19 symptoms and are not isolating.
  • Everyone at the appointment wears a face covering, uses hand sanitiser and maintains a suitable distance. 
  • Preparations can be done in advance by remote means.

The Government’s Legalisation Office is currently open for the issuing of apostilles and is providing an excellent service within about a week. Most embassies and consulates are offering consular legalisation services, but for some this is taking longer than usual.

Sending documents overseas

Monday, 28 September, 2020

Documents that are authenticated by a notary public are almost always for use overseas. This raises the question of how to send them to the destination. The options are ordinary airmail, Royal Mail “Tracked and Signed” and courier services such as FedEx and DHL, which deliver to the addressee. If I am instructed to send a document overseas for a client, I will only use FedEx or DHL. This is because they reliable and fast. Sadly, each year a number of of my clients send their documents by some form of mail which fails to deliver and causes the client, delay, extra cost and sometimes consequences of missing a deadline. All systems are fallible, but the courier services very rarely fail to deliver and the cost is usually much less than having to repeat the document formalities.

Philippines – Legalisation update

Thursday, 9 January, 2020

Until recently, legalising a document for the Philippines was a two-step process, involving an apostille from the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and then consular legalisation from the Philippine Embassy in London. The Philippines has recently joined 117 other countries with accession to the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. Accordingly, documents originating in the United Kingdom that are going to the Philippines only require an apostille issued by the FCO.

Christmas 2019

Sunday, 15 December, 2019

My office will close at noon on Tuesday 24th December 2019 and will re-open on Thursday 2nd January 2020. Please contact me by email if you wish to make an appointment either before or after the Christmas and New Year holiday.

How to find Time Central

Sunday, 15 December, 2019

If you use the what3words app on your smartphone, and you navigate to tones.answer.places, you will find yourself at the front door of Time Central.

Use of full names

Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Many legal documents require the signatory to use their full name. A person’s name can be quite a complex issue, because of changes of name, not commonly using a middle name and changes of status, such as marriage. If a person’s name on a notarised document (for example a degree certificate) does not match EXACTLY the name in identity documents, then further evidence may be needed by the person or body receiving the notarised document in another country. I can provide a statutory declaration if required to explain the situation.

It is good practice always to use all middle names in all officials documents. It can save a lot of trouble at a future date in explaining why a person uses different names.

Where I am being asked to notarise a document which contains a different family name, I will need to see evidence of the change of name. For example if a person’s name has changed on marriage, I would need to see the marriage certificate.

Typically, French documents relating to property transactions use a woman’s family name before marriage. Where the woman is using her married name, and that is the name on her identity documents, again a copy of the marriage certificate will be needed in order to authenticate the document.