What does a Notary do?

In England and Wales Notaries are largely concerned with the verification of documents and information that will be used in other countries in the world, for clients who have business or properties overseas, or who are involved in litigation in foreign Courts.

If your document is for use in England or Wales you need only use our services as Commissioner for Oaths.

Notaries form an independent branch of the legal profession, although most are solicitors. Their practice as Notaries is quite separate from their practice of any other profession or business, and is not controlled by the rules affecting solicitors. While Notaries have the powers of a Commissioner for Oaths (and most of them are also solicitors) the work they do is mainly concerned with foreign matters and their procedures are entirely different.

English Notaries Public are sometimes confused with American Notaries, whose powers are more similar to English Commissioner for Oaths. English Notaries are appointed for life and have power to verify any fact. Their time is just as valuable whether they are verifying your signature or an involved financial transaction.

Why do I need a Notary?

Usually you will have been asked by a third party to sign documents in the presence of a Notary Public. For example, if you are selling or buying a foreign property or giving someone Power of Attorney abroad.

Identification Requirements

Obviously, in order to verify who you are the Notary must see a form of identification. Acceptable identification is a valid Passport or Driving Licence, together with proof of address in the form of a recent utility bill. If you do not have these please contact us and we will be able to advise you on alternatives. Please also note that the Notary must actually see you sign the document, so do not sign anything in advance.

How much does it cost?

Our Notary’s charge is based on a rate of £275.00 plus VAT per hour with a minimum charge of £70 plus VAT. In general, one person signing a single document should expect to pay £70.00 plus VAT.

Apostillisation and Legalisation Costs

Sometimes you may be asked to have a document apostilled according to the Hague Convention or legalised. This entails sending the document to the Legalisation Office of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office where they will verify our Notary’s status by attaching their own certificate. Their fee for this is £30.00 per document together with any fee incurred by the courier / agent.

If the destination country is not a party to The Hague Convention the document must then be sent to the relevant country’s embassy for further verification. This can cost as much as £200.00 per document but the cost is usually much more modest, depending on the embassy involved.

What next?

Contact us to make an appointment. Please make sure you can satisfy all the following points before your appointment:

  • Your document must be in English, or have with it an English translation.
  • You must bring suitable identification.
  • Do not sign the document before your appointment.
  • Please remember to let us know if you have been asked to have the document legalised and apostilled.

We look forward to seeing you.