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Notary Public Services

Expert notary services for businesses and private individuals

Alice Toop is a solicitor at Steele Raymond LLP and she is also a qualified Notary Public.

The notarial profession is an entirely separate part of the legal profession to that of a solicitor and Alice’s two roles are distinct and subject to separate rules, regulations and requirements.

Alice has been appointed as a Notary Public by the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury and she is regulated by the Master of the Faculties through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary public is a member of the notarial profession which is the oldest and smallest branch of the legal profession – there are approximately 775 notaries public in England & Wales.

A Notary Public is a specialist lawyer who holds an internationally recognised public office and is authorised to authenticate documents for use abroad.

What Services Does a Notary Public Provide?

A Notary Public is primarily concerned with the authentication and certification of signatures, authority and capacity relating to documents for use abroad. This is not a mere rubber-stamping exercise. The signature and seal of a Notary Public is recognised by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and also by various High Commissions and Embassies throughout the world.

The overriding international duty of a Notary Public is “to the transaction” rather than to an individual client. A notarial act is a record of a matter of significance that is relied on by authorities and trading partners in foreign jurisdictions to facilitate international transactions. A notarial act is accepted and relied on as full and final proof of matters stated in the act. Great care is therefore essential at every stage to reduce the risk of errors, omissions, alterations, fraud, forgery and money laundering.

Alice can carry out all permitted notarial activities and she can arrange for the legalisation of documents before they are sent to their final destination.

Contact Alice >

Notary Public Services for Businesses

Alice provides a wide range of notarial services to businesses, examples include:

  • Preparation and execution of corporate powers of attorney
  • Authenticating company and business documents
  • Authenticating documents relating to property and corporate transactions abroad
  • Authenticating documents required to open a foreign bank account
  • Attestation of Certificates of Good Standing
  • Verification of company director/secretary signatures
  • Notarising affidavits and statutory declarations for foreign proceedings
  • Notarising documents relating to the assignment or registration of trademarks
  • Arranging for apostille, consular and embassy legalisation

Make a business related enquiry >

Notary Public Services for Individuals

Alice also provides a wide range of notarial services to individuals, examples include:

  • Preparation and execution of powers of attorney for individuals
  • Authenticating personal documents and information for immigration or emigration purposes, or to apply to marry or to work abroad
  • Notarising copies of identification, for example to open a bank account abroad
  • Providing certified copies of documents such as exam and degree certificates
  • Assisting with the purchase or sale of land overseas
  • Assisting with travel consents for minor children
  • Assisting with overseas adoptions
  • Authenticating foreign wills and providing documents to deal with the administration of the estate of a person who was residing abroad or owned property abroad.
  • Arranging for apostille, consular and embassy legalisation

Make a personal enquiry >

Common Stages of Notarial Documentation Certification Services

Each notarial matter is different and the requirements and timescales will vary greatly according to whether the client is a private individual or a company and in particular according to the processing times of third parties such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, legalisation agents, translating agencies and couriers.

Some of the typical key stages are likely to include:

  • Receiving and reviewing the documents to be notarised together with any instructions you have received
  • Liaising with your advisors or the relevant body abroad to obtain the necessary information to deal with the document
  • Checking the identity, capacity and authority of the person who is to sign the document
  • If a document is to be certified, checking with the issuing authority that it is genuine.
  • Meeting with the signatory to verify their identity, ascertain they understand what they are signing, that they are doing so of their own free will and to ensure the document is executed correctly
  • Endorsing or drafting and affixing a notarial certificate to the document
  • Arranging for the legalisation of the document
  • Arranging for the storage of copies of all notarised documents and other paperwork in accordance with the requirements of the Notarial Practice Rules 2019

Frequently asked questions:

What is the difference between a solicitor and a notary public?

Whilst solicitors and notaries both provide legal services, a notary public carries out an entirely different role to that of a solicitor. Most notaries are also solicitors but the two roles are distinct and subject to separate rules, regulations and requirements. A solicitor cannot provide notarial services unless they have also qualified as a notary public which involves additional training and background checks.

The main differences between solicitors and notaries are as follows:

  • Solicitors can provide a wide range of services from commercial litigation to conveyancing and criminal law to wills and probate. A notary public focuses on one highly specialised area – the preparation and authentication of documents for use abroad.
  • Solicitors have an overriding duty to act in the best interests of their client. A notary public’s primary duty is to the transaction itself and the notarised document can be relied on not only his/her client but also by third parties which may include foreign government authorities and international trading partners.

Solicitors are a much larger branch of the legal profession – there are around 150,000 solicitors in England & Wales compared to approximately 775 notaries

When might you need a notary?

You need a notary public if you are told by, say, your lawyer or other representative abroad that your document needs to be “notarised”.

A notary public will be able to authenticate your document so that is satisfies the requirements of this country and the receiving country – a notary public essentially facilities an international transaction.

A notary public can also assist with arranging for UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and embassy/consular legalisation.

Some examples of when you may need a notary public are as follows:

  • Preparing and executing powers of attorney for individuals and companies.
  • Authenticating company and business documents and transactions.
  • Authenticating personal documents and information for immigration or emigration
  • purposes, or to apply to marry or to work abroad.
  • Assisting with the purchase or sale of land overseas.
  • Assisting with overseas adoptions.
  • Authenticating foreign wills and providing documents to deal with the administration of
  • the estate of people who are abroad or owning property abroad.
What documentation might I need to provide at a notary meeting?

The answer depends on the transaction in question and your notary public will be able to advise you on what documents are required.

As a general idea of the documentation required, it is likely that you will need to provide evidence of your identity and, if you are acting on behalf of a company, evidence of your authority to do so as well as the documents to be notarised together with any instructions you have received from the receiving country.

A notary public will often need to see all of the documentation before accepting instructions and certainly before he or she meets you.

What if I need an ‘Apostille’ or my document needs to be ‘legalised’?

Recipients in some countries require verification of the notary public’s signature and seal. When this is required, ‘legalisation’ must be obtained before the document is accepted abroad.

For some countries, it is sufficient for an apostille to be affixed to the document. An apostille is a certificate from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office on behalf of the UK Government which confirms that the notary public’s signature and seal is genuine.

For other countries, embassy/consular legalisation is also required which is when the recipient requires the notarial act to bear a legalisation stamp from the consular department of the diplomatic mission representing the country where the document is to be used.
In any event, a notary public should be able to assist you with this process.

How much does a notary cost?

The cost of engaging a notary public very much depends on the document in question and what the notary public is being asked to do. Your notary public will usually be able to give you an indication on the cost involved for your transaction. In order to do this, your notary public will often need to know:

  • What service you require – for example: attesting signatures, certifying copy documents, obtaining legalisation etc.
  • The type of document that needs to be notarised.
  • Who is signing the document and, if the person is signing on behalf of a company, what authority do they have to do so?
  • How many documents are there?
  • Which country is the notarised document going to be sent to?

It is important to note that seeing a notary public is far more than a mere rubber-stamping exercise and the cost involved reflects the great care that a notary public takes at every stage of the process to minimise the risk of error, omissions, alterations, fraud, forgery, money laundering etc and also the fact that they notary public will, amongst other things, often need to liaise with your foreign lawyer or representative, advise on requirements for this country and draft a notarial certificate. Find out more about Alice’s pricing >

Contact Alice today

To find out more about Alice’s notary public services email alice@alicegracetoopnotarypublic.co.uk  or call 01202 983 999.

PLEASE NOTE: Alice’s notarial work is undertaken by “Alice Grace Toop Notary Public” which is completely independent of Steele Raymond LLP and is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury and not by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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