I am a Partner in the Boyes Turner's Wealth Protection team and have specialised in Private Client services since qualifying as a solicitor in 2002. I have since qualified as a Notary Public in 2019 following a two year course at University College London.
As a Notary Public, I am available to assist in the authentication and certification of signatures and documents for use in foreign countries.
What is Notary Public?
A Notary Public is a separate and distinct part of the legal profession. Although most Notary Publics are also qualified solicitors, it is a separate qualification and is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury
What does a Notary Public do?
The role of a Notary Public is principally concerned with the authentication and certification of signatures and documents for use in foreign countries.
A Notary will need to identify you and you will need to produce evidence of identity and proof of address. The Notary will also make sure that you understand the document you are signing and that you are willing to be bound by the terms of that document.
A Notary does not advise on foreign law and will not advise you with regard to the contents of any document you present to him. A notary will make sure that the document is correctly executed according to English law and that as far as possible the requirements of the foreign jurisdiction are complied with.
If the transaction concerns a transfer of funds the Notary may require you to produce evidence of the source of funds. He may also enquire as to the nature of the transaction as he has a duty to ensure that there is no fraud involved in the transaction. If you are unwilling to disclose this information the Notary will be unable to assist you.
Any documents in a language other than English must have an English version prepared by a qualified translator or by a lawyer in the foreign jurisdiction who is prepared to take responsibility for the contents of the English translation.
Seeing a notary – what you need to know
The Notary will:
- expect you to make an appointment. Notarial Work at Boyes Turner is strictly by appointment only
- need you to bring two forms of good evidence of identity together with proof of address. Generally, this will have to be a current valid passport and photo driving licence and something like a Council tax or electricity bill to confirm your address. Your proof of address must be less than three months old.
- need to be satisfied that you understand any document particularly a document which is not in English. If you or the Notary do not understand the document, the Notary will not be able to help
- want to see any relevant papers or documents that relate to the matter
It helps a lot if you can email or send a copy of your document to the Notary before your appointment.
What does it cost?
For most matters the Notary should be able to tell you his fee in advance. For more complex matters he will tell you how his fee will be assessed – usually based on how long he will have to work on your matter. There may be fees to pay to third parties, such as the Foreign Office or an Embassy.
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 he has to draw up the document or make a proper copy.
Many countries want documents to be countersigned by their London Embassies (legalisation) and this will take several days unless you want to take them to the Embassy in person and wait in line. The fees and procedures for this vary widely but the Notary should be able to give you a reasonably accurate idea of the time and cost.
Notarial services at Boyes Turner are strictly during normal office hours of 9.00am to 5.30pm. They will, however make arrangements to see you out of hours or out of the office if it is really necessary. This is subject to availability. This may cost more and take longer. If the Notary is away or unavailable his office should be able to contact another Notary for you, but you may have to travel some distance.