ENGLISH NOTARY PUBLIC SERVICES

Our Notary Services

Do you need a document notarised?

Are you selling property abroad?

Do you need to have academic degrees and qualifications accepted abroad? 

What is a notary public?

In England and Wales, a Notary is a qualified lawyer - a member of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession here. Notaries are appointed by the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury and are subject to regulation by the Master of the Faculties.

A Notary Public's work has historically dealt with the authentication, certification, and execution of documents for use abroad.   Such documents may relate to overseas property transactions, confirmation of academic degrees, administration of the affairs of people who have died, business transactions in other countries, court proceedings and/or emigration. 

 

The rules and principles which govern a notary's practice are the Notaries Practice Rules 2019. These rules are very similar to the rules which affect solicitors. Notaries must maintain professional indemnity and fidelity cover for the protection of both clients and the public.  Notaries must keep clients' money separate and must comply with strict rules relating to conduct and discipline in order to be able to renew their "practising certificate" every year.  Please note, the regulator for notaries is the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The voluntary representative society for notaries public is The Notaries Society.



What is the difference between a notary and a solicitor? 

In relation to reserved legal activities under the Legal Services Act, both notaries and solicitors are authorised persons for the following reserved legal activities: reserved instrument activities (conveyancing), probate activities, and the administration of oaths. Only the solicitor may deal with the exercise of right of audience and the conduct of litigation while only a notary may deal with notarial activities.

While a notary provides a service to clients, unlike the duties that solicitors owe to their clients, when a Notary Public carries out his public duty in a notarisation he is said to also have a responsibility to the transaction itself.  It is in recognition of this distinction that the seal and signature of an English Notary Public carries more weight than that of a solicitor and is recognised not only by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but also by various High Commissions, Consulates, and Embassies in England and throughout the world regardless of the legal systems adopted in various countries throughout the world.

Documents which may required to be completed by you for administrative agencies and/or trading partners abroad often specifically require the use of a notary public and not the services of someone who is only a solicitor.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS CLIENTS HAVE ABOUT OUR NOTARY SERVICES?


What are your notarisation fees for a one page document? 

What is your fee for signing one signature?

Please note we do not charge on the basis of the number of pages in a document, the number of documents, the number of notary stamps, or number of signatures.  

We charge on the basis of time spent in performing the service at £215 per hour or part thereof.  There is a minimum fee of £75.00.  VAT is not charged.  Where a notary matter is completed in 20 minutes we charge a fee of £75.00. Otherwise our notary fee is based on time spent at £215.00 per hour. For example, where 28 minutes are spent our fee would be £100.33.

If for any reason I need to travel to you, any travel time is charged at the above hourly rate.

What does the notary do in a notarisation?

 

Do I need to sign the documents in the physical presence of a Notary?

Yes!



Most documents require the notary to certify that you (the appearing person) appeared on a certain date before him or her at a certain location (normally the notary's office), and that the notary was able to identify you on the basis of identification documents produced by you. Such documents almost always provide that the notary witnessed you sign the relevant document in his or presence.  This is normally required either by English or the applicable foreign law to confirm the formal validity of the document. It is rare that a document required to be notarised does not recite the above.

Can I use my solicitor to deal with these documents? 

If your solicitor is also a notary, only then he or she can deal with the documents. Only acts of notaries are recognised abroad by foreign governments.  The acts of solicitors are accepted only in the UK and where such are sent abroad such can cause serious problems.  Where such solicitors seek to perform a notarisation, such may be a violation of the UK Legal Services Act. 

We have seen where an English solicitor who was not also a notary signed his name above a preprinted line setting out "name of notary" on a deed for the sale of property abroad.  Unfortunately, the buyer relied on the deed and transferred the purchase price to the seller on the basis of having received proper title through the invalid "notarised deed". 

What is an "apostille" and can you provide one to me?

 

 



A notary cannot simply stamp whatever document is presented. The stamp of a notary carries great weight internationally, and reliance is made by parties around the world as well as our regulator that the notary who has placed a stamp on a document has, in addition to making and keeping standard  business records, also completed the following:

• carried out proper identification checks (this may not be required for previous clients who have used our services in the previous three years). We are required by law to verify the identity of all clients. Any notary will request you  bring your original passport (with photograph and signature) or your driving licence (if a photograph is included) AND one utility bill (not a mobile phone bill) or bank statement from within the last 3 months  bearing your name/s and home address.

• complied with applicable money laundering regulations,

• explained terms of business, and kept copy signed by the client (may not be required for previous clients),

• taken steps to determine the client's authority to sign the document (may require proof of corporate status & copies of memo & arts, board minutes, etc.), his or her capacity to understand the document, and that the document is signed voluntarily,

• entered client and transaction data on the required notarial register,

• made and recorded copies of the notarised document, signed terms of business, instructions from the receiving parties and,

• has checked whether an “apostille” may be required from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and/or legalisation through an embassy or consulate.

It will normally take about 15 or so minutes to complete the above tasks, or less for previous clients.

The minimum fee is unlikely to apply where additional tasks have to be undertaken, including but not limited to:

• where requested or where necessary, the notary has to amend an existing document provided by the client or third party, or prepare an appropriate new document,

• where the notary has to certify and notarise numerous documents, where there is a lot of photocopying, or  photocopying of documents larger than A4 (while notaries are normally required to personally make their own photocopies, in the event the size of original documents to be notarised is larger than A4 please make such copies elsewhere beforehand and bring these copies along with the original documents)

• where the notary has to take steps to independently verify the authenticity of a document or event (such as where the document to be notarised is a diploma or degree from a UK based University which is to be sent to the FCO for an apostille)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further to the Notaries Practice Rules 2019, all notary firms are required to provide information about costs, their services, the basis on which their fees are calculated, etc.

 

We are also required to identify to whom any complaints should be made. Further to this. please note that any complaints in relation to our services should be addressed to Kevin Michael Burke, the owner of this practice.

  • the basis upon which we calculate the fees for our services (price information); 

We do not charge set fees for notarisation matters as the work to be performed can be different depending on the requirements of the parties, the relevant nation, and on the client's particular requirements.  We charge for our time spent on an hourly rate of £215 per hour or part thereof.  There is a minimum fee of £75 for matters which take 20 minutes or less.  We do not charge VAT.   In relation to

  • a brief outline of the notary services which we provide (both reserved legal activities and other legal activities) setting out the key stages of the work (if more than one) and the normal timescales for each key stage (service information); 

  • the level of insurance which your carry under your professional indemnity policy (redress information); 

  • confirmation that you are covered by a formal complaints procedure in the event that a client is dissatisfied with the service provided and an explanation of how to make such a complaint (complaint information); and 

  • confirmation that you are ‘Regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury’ (regulatory information).

 

What is a Notary Public in England & Wales?

I am well aware that many people have never used the services of a notary public and are not familiar with their purpose in the legal system. A notary has historically had two purposes, (1), being present on the execution of a document in order to be in a position to be able to attest to the signing, and to be able to attest to both the authenticity of a document and also to the identity

  • The exact purpose of a notary is to attest to both the authenticity of a document as well as the identity of the parties signing it. Documents under seal of a notary are presumed by law to be valid, and to have been signed by the people identified in the document.

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The exact purpose of a notary is to attest to both the authenticity of a document as well as the identity of the parties signing it. Documents under seal of a notary are presumed by law to be valid, and to have been signed by the people identified in the document.

 

A Notary Public of England & Wales holds a recognised public office. Whenever it is necessary to have documents or deeds prepared, attested, authenticated, or certified in England & Wales, for use elsewhere in the world, it is then that you may need the assistance of a notary public in England & Wales.  Such notary work may require confirm the identity of the receiving party abroad, 

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  • a brief outline of the services which you provide (both reserved legal activities and other legal activities) setting out the key stages of the work (if more than one) and the normal timescales for each key stage (service information); 

  • the level of insurance which your carry under your professional indemnity policy (redress information); 

  • confirmation that you are covered by a formal complaints procedure in the event that a client is dissatisfied with the service provided and an explanation of how to make such a complaint (complaint information); and 

  • confirmation that you are ‘Regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury’ (regulatory information).

 

 

Are notaries in the United Kingdom similar to USA notaries?

The quick answer is no.  As about 99% of notaries in the United States are US notaries public without any legal training or international experience, etc., as opposed to the very small number of "civil law notaries" (in the states of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico), most notaries in the USA can only do very limited things.

UK notaries are specifically authorised to carry out certain reserved activities under the Legal Services Act 2007 such as conveyancing and probate, and can basically do any form of legal work except contentious matters or taking cases to court.  All English notaries may exercise the powers of a Commissioner for Oaths.

In England and Wales Notaries are most often concerned with the verification of documents and information that is intended to be used in other countries for clients who have business or property overseas or who are involved in litigation in foreign courts. In most cases, a Notary will act as an impartial and legally trained witness to authenticate and certify the execution of documents.


The main duties of a Notary are:

 

  • preparing and witnessing powers of attorney for use outside the UK;

  • dealing with the purchase or sale of land and property outside the UK;

  • providing documents to deal with the administration of the estate of people who are abroad, or who own property abroad;

  • authenticating personal documents and information for immigration or emigration purposes, or to apply to marry or work abroad;

  • authenticating company and business documents and transactions.


Documents handled by a Notary known as ‘notarial acts. These may be in "public form" or "private form" – the latter mostly restricted to witnessing signatures. An act in public form is needed where a Notary confirms facts which s/he has verified personally. Notaries must verify for each client their identity, legal capacity and the appearing party's understanding of the document as well as their authority if signing on behalf of another party such as a limited company.  Documents notarised for companies may require additional work due to the rules governing companies, etc.

Notary Services generally relate to documents to be used abroad. Examples include powers of attorney for the purchase or sale of foreign property, proof of the existence of a company, consent for a minor child to travel abroad, contracts or agreements, copies of academic degrees and so on. 

In some of these you may have been told that you need to present identification and sign a document - often also making a swear or declaration - in the presence of a notary public. In other, it may be that you need a notary public to themselves authenticate a document and verify facts out therein.

If you are unsure if this is the service you require, visit our page for Frequently Asked Questions about services we provide. 

 

Contact us here to arrange to discuss your legal query. 

Notary Services relate to document to be used abroad. Examples include power of attorney for the purchase or sale of foreign property, proof of the existence of a company, consent for a minor child to travel abroad, contracts or agreements, copies of academic degrees and so on. 

In some of these you may have been told that you need to present identification and sign a document - often also making a swear or declaration - in the presence of a notary public. In other, it may be that you need a notary public to themselves authenticate a document and verify facts out therein.

If you are unsure if this is the service you require, visit our page for Frequently Asked Questions about law services we can provide. 

 

Contact us here to arrange to discuss your legal query. 

Notary Services relate to document to be used abroad. Examples include power of attorney for the purchase or sale of foreign property, proof of the existence of a company, consent for a minor child to travel abroad, contracts or agreements, copies of academic degrees and so on. 

In some of these you may have been told that you need to present identification and sign a document - often also making a swear or declaration - in the presence of a notary public. In other, it may be that you need a notary public to themselves authenticate a document and verify facts out therein.

If you are unsure if this is the service you require, visit our page for Frequently Asked Questions about law services we can provide. 

 

Contact us here to arrange to discuss your legal query. 

© 2020 by Kevin Michael Burke