Guidance for Notary Public appointments
We want to help you ensure that your appointment goes smoothly so it is especially important that you read the following information carefully in advance of your visit. This guidance for appointments is not our terms of business. We would like you to pay particular attention to our terms and conditions and read these carefully before you attend our offices for your appointment. Among other things these contain important limitations and regulatory information including your right to redress if things go wrong. You can access our terms and conditions by clicking on the button that follows. Terms of Business
Please also ensure that you know where our office is by following our contact us link. Contact Us
Legal and/or procedural advice
Our terms and conditions set out our role and what we do. For the avoidance of doubt, we do not give legal advice as part of our Notary services nor do we draft documents unless specifically agreed between you and us. If you do not have a complete document, we may have to terminate your appointment and ask you to rearrange another one.
Knowing What Your Requirements Are
You should check with the person or organisation with whom you are dealing with overseas as to their exact requirements. As outlined below, we are generally asked to certify your signature and identity and cannot advise you with authority the exact requirements of the entity with whom you are dealing.
We would specifically ask you to seek confirmation as to whether an Apostille is required (click button for illustration). Apostille guide or whether consulate legalisation is required (click button for illustration). Country Guide
We can offer guidance on what is normally required in the territory in which you are dealing with but it is best to seek confirmation of the exact requirements with the people with whom you are dealing with on the ground. They should know their jurisdictional requirements and be able to authoritatively help you.
You must bring with you original valid photo ID which is normally your passport or driving licence. If you don’t have either of these, please call our office to agree a suitable alternative. You must also bring with you proof of your residential address, for example, a utility bill or bank statement. If you do not have a paper proof of address, we will accept an electronic version if you can access that in our office via the internet. For instance accessing your online banking via the internet in our office.
You can also ask your bank to print off a paper statement and we will accept this provided that it has been stamped by the branch. We are bound by regulatory practice rules to formally identify all our clients using these methods. Anti-money laundering procedures are also a significant factor in our needing to identify you, we take this element very seriously.
As Notaries, the most substantial role we are asked to perform is to confirm that the person, who appears before us to sign a document, is in fact the person mentioned in any documentation which is to be signed before the Notary. We must establish that the person understands what they are entering into, has the capacity to do so and is willing to be bound by his or her actions.
If you have many variations of your name or if the name on your document does not match with the name on your identification, please produce relevant documentation to evidence your name. For example a marriage certificate or a change of name deed in order that we can positively identify you as the person to whom the document relates.
Your Documents to be notarised
You must bring the documents which need to be signed or certified. Please do not sign them before you come to our office. Please pay particular attention in ensuring that your documents are complete. In order for our Notary to verify your signature and commitment to be bound by the documents you present, they must be in complete form. So for instance, if you have been provided a pre-printed form with blank spaces, the required information must be inserted into the spaces. (We cannot sign these and leave you to complete this outside of our office.)
If your document refer to documents which are to be annexed or exhibited with the main document then these should also be provided. This is a common scenario when swearing oaths, affidavits or making statutory declarations before a Notary. We cannot notarise something which refers to accompanying documents if those accompanying documents are not provided as to do so would be misleading. So if your document refers to an annexure or exhibit, please ensure to bring these as well.
We are happy to print off documents which you have emailed but please note: if you are emailing us documents or forms, they must be complete. We do not allow access to our firm’s computers for clients to draft documents or to amend documents. This must be done in advance and you must have the documents available in their final form for signing.
We don’t mind inserting minor details (for example your name or the date) into electronic documents for printing but we are not prepared to alter a document substantially. The reason for this stance is to avoid us being seen as having substantially prepared or advised you on such document. If you do need us to do this, please ask and we will help you.
If it is apparent to the Notary that you are unsure of the nature of the documents that you present to us, are acting under duress or do not understand the implications of what you are doing, we reserve the right to refuse to act for you right up until the time of the appointment.
Signing on behalf of a UK company or other UK incorporated body
In the case of corporate entities, the Notary must additionally ensure that the entity exists (and is in continuous existence) and that person signing on behalf of the entity has authority to bind the entity and that the company has the capacity to enter into the transaction at hand. This is because the person or organisation relying on our Notary’s certification is expecting us to confirm that the party to the transaction is willing and able to enter into it. If the entity is registered in the UK, we can usually find these details out quite quickly. We may ask for specific evidence to demonstrate the signatories authority to sign, this is usually a board minute and we can help with this if necessary.
Signing on behalf of an overseas company or other overseas incorporated body
It is important to note that if you are signing on behalf of an offshore entity or if the entity is not offshore but registered in a jurisdiction which we are not familiar, the Notary may have to limit our notarial certificate by saying that we have been unable to ascertain the credentials of the entity in question but attest the signature and identity of the person signing only. Please bear this in mind before you come to our office and if proving the overseas company’s existence and your capacity to sign for it is the a substantial issue which you want the Notary to verify, please tell us in advance of your appointment so that we can make the necessary enquiries to ascertain this. Remember, we cannot just take your word for it, we must check the credentials of the company from a reliable source such as a Companies Registration Office or a Registered Agent.
Certified copy documents
If you have been asked to provide a certified copy, it means that the Notary will certify a copy of an original document to be a true copy of the original document which the Notary has seen. We must see the original document. We cannot offer a certified copy of a copy, we can only offer a certified copy of the original. In many cases some documents are now only supplied in electronic form. If this is the case you can either access the third party electronic database which supplies the electronic document via the internet in our office or, have the issuer email us the electronic document directly to us. For instance, if you have been asked to provide a certified copy of an insurance certificate. You can either access your insurance company’s portal in our office and show us the evidence, or have the insurance company email us directly with a copy of the electronic document. If documents are in electronic form, please raise this issue with us in advance so that we can offer you a suitable solution before attending our office.
Documents in a foreign language
We may not be conversant with the language contained in your document but our Notary is able to assist you with foreign language documents provided that you can show evidence that you understand the content of the document. If the document is in your native tongue or you can show proficiency in the language, we can help you without a problem. If it is clear to us that you have been assisted by a professional adviser overseas we can also help you.
If we are unable to establish the central issue that you are fully understand the contents and effects of the document which you are signing, our Notary will refuse to verify your signature on the document because by doing so, it will be implied that you have demonstrated your understanding to us or that the Notary is conversant in the foreign language and has explained its contents to you. If you do not have an understanding of the contents of a foreign language document which you have been asked to have notarised, please obtain a professional translation of it. We can arrange this if necessary.
Often clients are asked to provide a ‘sworn’ or ‘certified translation. This is usually where the receiving jurisdiction has an official translating service provided by an organ of the state. Such circumstances do not exist in the UK and the next best thing is for a Notary to certify that a translation has been professionally undertaken. We can help clients with this requirement.
Attestation of Degree Certificates, Academic Qualifications and Professional Memberships
We can help you with attestation of degree certificates for the UAE, Saudi, Qatar and any other country. Notaries are required to safeguard against the falsification of academic certificates. We therefore seek confirmation directly from the awarding institution that our client has in fact obtained the award set out in any degree certificate or other document provided. We need a consent form to be completed by the client enabling the awarding university to release the information to us. If we are unable to seek confirmation from the awarding body, the Notary will limit our notarial certificate by stating that we have not independently verified the degree or academic award.
If you have any questions in advance of your appointment, please let us know. We are happy to help. We try to limit undue bureaucracy in advance of appointments but it is important that everything is in order prior to you coming to see us. There are occasions, as illustrated, where it transpires that when we see errors during the appointment we have to seek to rectify these and rearrange the appointment. By following this guidance you can limit the danger of this happening to you. We are happy to report however that the vast majority of our Notary appointments are successful!
We look forward to seeing you.