What is a notary?
Under English law a Notary is an Officer of the law who holds a public office. He is a member of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in the United Kingdom. He is appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and is subject to regulation by the Court of Faculties.
A Notary mainly acts as an impartial and legally trained witness to authenticate and certify the execution of documents required or intended for use outside the United Kingdom.
The duty and function of a Notary is to prepare, attest, authenticate and certify (for use anywhere in the world) deeds and other documents under the signature and official seal of the Notary, so as to make them acceptable, as proof of the matters attested or confirmed by the Notary, to the public or judicial authorities in the country where they are to be used.
Notarial requirements and execution and production of documents vary from country to country.
A Notary has two significant differences from a solicitor (although most Notaries are also solicitors). Firstly, his duty is to the transaction as a whole and not just to one of the parties. A Notary may act for both parties to a transaction as long as there is no conflict between them, and his duty is to ensure that the transaction they conclude is fair to both sides.
Secondly, a Notary identifies himself on documents by use of an individual seal. Such seals have historical origins and are regarded by most other countries as of great importance for establishing the genuineness of a document. A Notary's seal will be registered with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and with many foreign embassies and consulates. Procedures exist for the seal to be further authenticated, a process called legalisation.
Please call Gareth Pobjoy to discuss the documents you need notarised.