My usual office hours are 9 am to 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday and appointments are needed. Much notarial work is urgent and I will try and schedule appointments at short notice where possible.
Why are you seeing a Notary?
In many countries, legal documents must be signed before a notary public before they acquire legal status. A notary verifies the identity, capacity and will of the person signing a document and may attest to its contents. Such legal documents include contracts, land conveyances, powers of attorney, wills and corporate documents. The notary issues a notarial certificate, either attached to the document or written onto the document itself, signed by the notary and impressed with the notary’s seal.
Notaries also prepare legal documents and have special jurisdiction in relation to protests noted by the masters of ships and the protest of bills of exchange. Notaries are also authorised to administer the swearing of oaths and statutory declarations.
Who is a Notary?
A notary is a qualified lawyer who is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The regulation of notaries broadly follows that of solicitors.
Seeing a Notary
Where possible, I try to complete a notarial assignment in one appointment. To do this, please send the document(s) to be notarised and any instructions you have been given to me by email in good time.
To arrange for your document to be notarised you will need you to:
• make an appointment
• if possible, email the documents(s) to me in advance for review
• identify yourself (generally a current valid passport or photo driving licence and a bank statement or utility invoice less than 3 months old to confirm your home address). The name in the ID document must be the same as that in the notarised document – sometimes a marriage certificate or deed poll on change of name is required too
• identify any company or other organisation or person on whose behalf you may be signing the document. You must produce authority from that company or other person, for example a board resolution or power of attorney
• confirm your capacity to sign. If you are a company director I will carry out a company search to verify this
• show that you understand the content and effect of the document to be notarised
• sign the document in my presence as the notary and sometimes before a further witness
Where an individual is signing a document on behalf of a company, limited liability partnership or other entity, the notarial attestation will require evidence of the authority given to that individual.
Legalisation & Apostilles
Some countries insist that the notarial certificate is itself verified, or legalised. This is performed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office attaching an apostille and/or by the UK embassy or consulate of the country in question adding their stamp. If legalisation is required, I will discuss with you the requirements, cost and timescale.
Birth, marriage and death certificates
Please note that it is not possible to notarise a photocopy of these certificates. A certified copy from the General Register Office can be notarised and legalised: please see the online ordering website on the Links page.
There are restrictions imposed by the FCO on legalising degree and other educational certificates and I may require the issuing body to verify the authenticity of the document. If this is necessary I will ask you to sign a data protection consent form that will permit the issuing body to give the necessary confirmation.