The functions of Notaries or the Notary services provided by Notaries include the preparation and execution of legal documents for use abroad, attesting the authenticity of deeds and writings, and protesting bills of exchange. Notaries in England and Wales may also provide any non-contentious legal service, including Conveyancing and Probate activities. Our specialist Notary solicitor is able to assist you with a full range of Notarial Services.
Parker Arrenberg deals with a wide range of personal documents for foreign use including:
- Preparation and execution of powers of attorney
- Certifying documents for use abroad
- Helping with paperwork for getting married or working abroad
- Overseas adoptions
- Visa applications
- Bank documents
- Certified copies of passports and other documents
- Certification of academic documents
- Lost passports and other documents
The reason a person needs to visit a Notary is to prepare or certify a document that can be used in another country in a form that will be acceptable to the courts and other authorities in that country. A person who visits a Notary is described as the “Appearer”.
The arrangement for the provision of Notarial Services is made between the Appearer and the individual Notary. The Notary acts independently of Parker Arrenberg. The work the Notary does is treated as part of the Solicitor’s practice for insurance purposes but for no other purpose.
If you need to see a Notary, please telephone us on 020 8695 2330 for an appointment.
The Notary’s Role
A Notary’s responsibilities can be summarised as follows:
- Checking that you are who you claim to be
- Making sure that you have the right authority to sign any documents that requires your signature
- Ensuring that you understand the nature of any commitment you are taking on
- Making sure that all the formal requirements are properly carried out.
Not a Mere Rubber-stamping Exercise
The international duty of a Notary involves a high standard of care. This is not only towards the Appearer but also to anyone who may rely on the document and to Governments or officials of other countries.
Advice on the Document
When you bring a document to the Notary for authorisation he will advise as to the formalities required for completing it. However, he will not be attempting to advise you about the transaction itself, and you must seek such advice from your own lawyers or persons asking you to have the document signed before the Notary.
The Notary must be sure that you and he understand any document you are to sign. He cannot simply take your word for it. He may have to insist that it is properly translated into English or that a qualified interpreter is present at your interview. He may need both. You will have to pay for these extra services. The cost will, inevitably, vary according to the length and complexity of the document and the language involved. If you have lawyers acting for you in the country where the document is to be used, they may be able to provide a certified English translation as well.
How long will it take?
If the document is straightforward, already prepared and in the correct form the Notary is likely to need to see you for a minimum of 15-20 minutes and complete it in half an hour. Obviously, it takes longer if the document is not straightforward, or the Notary has to draw up the document or make a proper copy. In some cases, more than one visit will be required.
Many countries want documents to be countersigned by their London Embassies (Legalisation) and this will take time unless you want to take them to the Embassy in person and wait in line. The Notary will be able to give you an estimate of the time it will take to have your documents legalised if that is necessary.
When the Notary carries out his work, he is required to make an entry in a formal register, which is kept by him as a permanent record. He will often retain a copy of the notarised documentation with that record. In the case of “Public” documents he will keep a copy bearing your original signature on it so that he can issue further certified copies if required to do so. He can be required to deal with queries from e.g. foreign lawyers, Land Registrars or Embassies to confirm the fact that you saw him and signed the document.
Personal data may be used and disclosed by the Notary to third parties in the course of providing services to the Appearer and for regulatory purposes.
The Notary will use email where this is convenient. Where an Appearer has provided an email address, e.g., by sending the Notary an e-mail, the Notary will assume that he may use that address for the sending of unencrypted sensitive or confidential correspondence or documents to the Appearer. The Notary may also, during the course of a matter, send unencrypted sensitive or confidential information to other persons involved, unless specifically requested by them or the Appearer not to do so.
English law is the applicable law to the provision of these Notarial Services and the English courts shall have sole jurisdiction in the case of any dispute.
We can arrange for documents that have to be used abroad to be legalised for you.
What is Legalisation?
Legalisation is the process by which the signature and seal of the Notary are authenticated by the Foreign Office and a Foreign Embassy.
Documents going to countries which are, or have been, part of the British Commonwealth do not usually need legalisation nor, at present, do documents going to most parts of the United States. Other countries usually do.
Most countries accept only one certificate from the Foreign Office called an Apostille. Some countries want an Apostille and a certificate from their own Embassy. There are other procedures that only apply to a few countries, and there can be problems if a document is to be used in a country with which the United Kingdom does not have diplomatic relations. The Notary may not be able to tell you in advance what legalisation will cost, but fees can be high for some commercial documents. The fees charged by foreign Embassies vary widely and can cost a few pounds or as much as £400.
What is involved?
The process of legalisation usually involves attending at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and, for most non-European and non-English speaking countries, one or two visits to the Embassy or High Commission of the country the document(s) is to be used in. We have agents that visit the FCO and embassies every day and so can arrange this for you if you wish.
It is possible, if you need a document quickly, to take it yourself to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Milton Keynes. Similarly, it is possible to take them to the relevant Embassy in person and wait in line. The Notary will be able to give you an estimate of the time it will take to have your documents legalised if it is necessary and you wish us to make the arrangements for you.
Your solicitor will always ensure that you are fully aware of any fees involved, and where possible we will work to a range of fixed fees depending on your requirements. If that is not possible, we will provide you with a very clear and transparent fee quotation that ensures you fully understand the fees you need to pay and what is included in those fees.
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Our team support businesses and individuals with a holistic range of legal services and representation. We are committed to meeting your needs, as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, our London solicitors deliver thorough, results-focused, and pragmatic advice. For all your legal needs, get in touch with one of our expert solicitors today on 020 8695 2330 or email us at email@example.com and we will get back to you.