Below are answers to some of the questions I am most frequently asked.
A Notary Public is a fully qualified lawyer - a member of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession within the United Kingdom.
They are appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and are subject to regulation by the Court of Faculties. The rules which affect Notaries Public are very similar to the rules which affect Solicitors.
You will require a Notary Public if a document in question needs to be sent outside of the UK. Notaries are recognised internationally in this regard.
A Notary must be fully insured and maintain fidelity cover for the protection of their clients and the public. In addition, a Notary must also keep clients' money separately from their own and comply with stringent practice rules and rules relating to conduct and discipline. Notaries also have to renew their practising certificates every year and can only do so if they have complied with the rules.
Legalisation is the process by which the signature and seal of the Notary Public are authenticated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and/or the embassy or consulate of the country in which the document is to be used.
The apostille can only be issued by the FCO but this can also be referred to as legalisation. When a document is stamped by an embassy or consulate it is only called legalisation.
When I sign and stamp a document, the person receiving that document in a foreign country needs confidence that I am a genuine notary. This is where the apostille or legalisation comes in. My signature and seal have both been registered at the FCO, embassies and consulates in the UK. When my notarial document is sent to these places my signature and seal will be checked against the records held. They can then issue the apostille or legalisation stamp which is normally affixed to the back of the document.
An apostille is issued in accordance with the Hague Convention 1961. As such it is sometimes referred to as a Hague stamp.
Documents going to countries which are, or have been, part of the British Commonwealth seldom need legalisation nor, at present, do documents going to many parts of the United States.
Prior to an appointment you will need the following:
I will normally quote you a fixed fee before I commence any Notary work. If this is not possible because the work required is particularly complex then I will inform you of my fee structure in advance.
Please contact me for a quotation.