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Regulatory Information

VISITING A NOTARY PUBLIC: NOTES FOR CLIENTS

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WHO ARE NOTARIES PUBLIC?

A Notary is a qualified lawyer; a member of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in the United Kingdom. We are appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and are subject to regulation by the Court of Faculties. The functions of a Notary include the preparation, attestation, certification and authentication of documents, under official seal, in such a manner as to render them acceptable as proof of the matters attested by the Notary to the judicial or other public authorities in the country where they are to be used.

NOT A MERE RUBBER-STAMPING EXERCISE:

The international duty of a Notary involves a high standard of care. This is not only towards you as a client but also to anyone who may rely on the document and to governments or officials of other countries. These people are entitled:

  1. to assume that a Notary will ensure full compliance with the relevant requirements both here and abroad, and;
  2. to rely on the Notary’s register and records.

Notarisation is accepted as a safeguard under international law. The signature and seal of the Notary are recognised as a link in the chain of evidence relating to international documents. As a result, great care is essential at every stage to minimise the risk of errors, omissions, alterations, fraud, duress, money laundering, the use of false identity, and so on. As a Notary, I have to act independently; my overriding duty is ‘to the transaction’.

PAPERS TO BE SENT TO ME IN ADVANCE:

It can save time, expense and mistakes if, as long before the appointment as possible, you can let me have the originals or photocopies of:

  1. the document(s) to be notarised;
  2. any letter or other form of instruction which you have received about what has to be done with the documents; and
  3. your evidence of identification.

SIGNATURE:

The Notary should normally witness your signature. Please do not therefore sign the document in advance of your appointment with me.

INCOMPLETE DOCUMENTS:

The Notary has to check that each document to be notarised is fully completed. Unfortunately, many documents produced as ready for signature have blank spaces left in them – not always intentionally! This occurs even when other lawyers or professional advisers have prepared them. If you can help in identifying the information needed to complete any blanks in documents, it will save time when we meet. However, please do not mark the document itself until I have seen it.

ADVICE ON THE DOCUMENT:

If you bring a document to me for authorisation as a Notary, I will advise you as to the formalities required for completing it. However, I shall not be attempting to advise you about the transaction itself, and you must seek such advice from your own lawyer or person(s) asking you to have the document signed before me.

WRITTEN TRANSLATIONS:

It is important that you understand what you are signing. If the document is written in a foreign language which you do not understand sufficiently, I may have to insist that a translation be obtained. If I arrange for a professional translation to be undertaken, a further fee will be payable. Unless you have a good understanding of the language yourself, an informal or amateur translation is rarely satisfactory.

ORAL INTERPRETER:

If you and I cannot understand each other because of a language difficulty, we may have to make arrangements for a competent interpreter to be available at our interview and this is likely to involve a further fee.

LEGALISATION

Many countries require a document to be ‘legalised’. This is the process by which a state agency confirms that my seal and signature are those of an English Notary. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office attach an ‘apostille’ to the document. Sometimes the document then has to go to the London Embassy for the country to where the document is to be sent. The Embassy will then attach its own certificate to the document. Your lawyer will probably advise you of the need for legalisation. If not, you should ask him or her about it. I shall be able to obtain the necessary legalisation and shall discuss with you the timescale and whether there is a need for a legalisation agent or courier where speed is an issue. You may, however, deal with legalisation yourself if you so wish.

COMPANIES, PARTNERSHIPS, ETC:

If a document is to be signed by you on behalf of a company, a partnership, a charity, club or other incorporated body, I will need to see a Letter of Authority, Minute, Resolution or Power of Attorney authorising you to sign the document. I shall let you know what additional information I require at the appropriate time. It is likely that I will need to independently verify this information at Companies House or other such body for which there may be a fee.

REGISTER & RETENTION OF COPY DOCUMENTS:

At the end of the matter, I make a formal entry of the main details in my register, which I shall ask you to sign. I will also keep copies of the notarised documents and proof of your identity for my records.

NOTARIAL CHARGES AND EXPENSES:

My charges: My current hourly rate is £280. My minimum charge for dealing with a single document is normally £150. The preparation of certified copies of a document I have notarised are normally charged at £125 for the first copy and £50 thereafter.

Basis of charges: In the case of simple matters, I shall agree with you a fixed fee before commencing work. If, however, there are complications or if there are more documents or parties involved than you originally indicated or legalisation is required, I reserve the right to renegotiate my fee or agree to charge you by my hourly rate based upon time spent. Special factors which might result in an increase in the charge include:

  1. complexity or novelty;
  2. the number and importance of the documents;
  3. if the work has to be done away from this office or outside office hours; and/or
  4. special urgency, which may require me to deal with your matter in priority to other work.

Payments out on your behalf: I may have to pay legalisation fees to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and/or a foreign embassy. There might be translator or interpreter fees. Your approval to these will be obtained and you are normally required to make payment in advance of any such amounts.

Travelling time & expenses: I will normally make a charge for my time taken travelling to and from any appointment taking place away from my offices. I will usually also charge my travelling expenses at the rate of £0.40 per mile. Your approval to these will be obtained and you are normally required to make payment in advance of any such amounts.

Payment: My notarial charges are normally payable upon signature of the document requiring notarisation and I reserve the right to retain any completed document until payment has been received. If I render a bill in respect of the work, payment will be due when you receive the bill.

CANCELLATION:

Should you be unable to attend a pre-arranged appointment with me then please let me know by telephone or email as soon as possible beforehand. I reserve the right to charge a non- attendance fee of £50 should less than 24 hours’ notice of cancellation be given.

COMPLAINTS

My notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury: The Faculty Office

1 The Sanctuary Westminster London
SW1P 3JT
T: 020 7222 5381
E: faculty.office@1thesanctuary.com
W: www.facultyoffice.org.uk

If you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact me. If I am unable to resolve the matter you may then complain to The Notaries’ Society of which I am 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:

C J Vaughan
The secretary, The Notaries’ Society
PO Box 7655
Milton Keynes
MK11 9NR. T: 01604 758908
E: secretary@thenotariessociety.org.uk
W: http://www.thenotariessociety.org.uk/complaints

If you have any difficulty making a complaint in writing, please do not hesitate to call the Notaries’ Society for assistance. Finally, even if you have 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 me 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
T: 0300 555 0333
E: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
W: www.legalombudsman.org.uk

If you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman within twelve months from the conclusion of the complaint process.

MY LIABILITY

I carry professional indemnity cover of £5,000,000.00 (any one claim).

THE LAW APPLICABLE TO MY RETAINER

The law which governs my contract with you is English law and it is agreed that any dispute relating to my services shall be resolved by the English courts.