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Notary Service Guide
  1. What is a Notary?

    Notaries Public prepare, authenticate and certify signatures and documents for use overseas. Notaries are qualified lawyers and members of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in England and Wales. They are also the smallest branch of the profession with only approximately 1,000 practising in England and Wales. English and Welsh notaries can trace their origins back to the times of the occupation of Britain by the Romans. They are effectively civil law lawyers working in a common law jurisdiction and provide a bridge between the civil law jurisdictions and the common law jurisdiction of England and Wales.

  2. What is Notarisation?
    • Notarisation is not merely a rubber stamping exercise. Reliance will be placed by parties and officials in other countries on the authenticity of the documents that have been notarised. Accordingly, notaries must follow a strict procedure.
    • A document is notarised by the notary signing and affixing his notarial seal to the document. By notarising a document, the notary verifies the authenticity of the facts set out in the document.
    • In most cases, the notary will need to meet you at a face to face meeting so you will need to make an appointment. The reason for this is that the notary is required to identify you from your personal documents and ensure that you understand the nature and effect of the transaction that you have asked him to notarise. Appointments usually take between 15 and 30 minutes.
    • Most clients need to see a notary urgently and we are usually able to offer appointments within 24 hours.
    • You will need to bring to the appointment satisfactory evidence of your identity. Generally this will need to be a current valid passport together with a recent utility bill or bank statement showing your current residential address.
    • For corporate clients, the notary will need to carry out a company search to verify the existence of the company and to establish who the directors of the company are; in most cases, it is the directors who have authority to sign documents on the company's behalf.
    • The notary will usually ask to see copies of the documents that need notarising prior to the appointment. This will enable him to check that everything is in order and in a fit state to be signed. Occasionally, he will ask for amendments to be made to the documents.
  3. What is Legalisation?
    • Most foreign countries require notarised documents to be "legalised" by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The FCO do this by affixing a certificate called an "Apostille" to the document which confirms the authenticity of the notary's signature and seal. The FCO charge £30 per document (£71 for a same day service) plus £6 for returning the document by courier. Documents are usually received back from the FCO within a week. We can handle the legalisation process for you for an additional fee of £20 inc. VAT. We will advise you if your documents are likely to require legalisation.
    • Sometimes, a foreign country will require the document to be legalised by its Embassy or Consulate either instead of or in addition to legalisation by the FCO. Fees vary for this. Again, we will advise you if additional legalisation is likely to be required and what the cost is likely to be.
  4. Is a Translation Required?

    If the document is not in English and does not come with a translation, the document may need to be translated into English before it can be notarised. We can arrange for documents to be translated into English from any language and will provide you with a fixed quote for the work.

  5. Notarial Complaints
    • Legal Clarity's notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury

      The Faculty Office
      1 The Sanctuary
      London SW1P 3JT
      Telephone: 020 7222 5381
    • If you are dissatisfied with the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact James Quinn, director of Legal Clarity.
    • If we are unable to resolve the matter to your satisfaction you may then complain to The Notaries Society (of which our notary is a member) 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 of 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 on 01604 758908.
    • Finally, even if you had 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 our notary that you were dissatisfied, make your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, if you are not happy with the result:

      Legal Ombudsman
      Baskerville House, Centenary Square,
      Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2ND
      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.

Total Price: £90    ( inc. VAT)

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© 2019 Legal Clarity Limited: Corporate & Commercial Legal Services - Company Formation - Company Secretarial Registered in England and Wales (number 6452925) and authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number 573589). 1st Floor, Charles House, 148-149 Gt Charles Street, Birmingham, B3 3HT. Tel: 08456 800 727. VAT registration number 925709016.