Notary Public Services
What does a Notary Public do?
Notaries Public undertake work for private individuals, and for commercial firms engaged in international trade. Most notaries are solicitors. Their services include:
- preparing and witnessing powers of attorney for use overseas
- dealing with purchase or sale of land and property abroad
- providing documents to deal with the administration of the estate of people who are abroad, or owning property abroad
- authenticating personal documents and information for immigration or emigration purposes, or to apply to marry or to work abroad
- administering oaths and declarations
- authenticating company and business documents and transactions
- drawing up or noting (and extending) protests of happenings to ships, crews and cargoes
- presenting bills of exchange for acceptance and payment, noting and protesting bills in cases of dishonour and preparing acts of honour
- attending upon the drawing up of bonds
- drawing mercantile documents, deeds agreement and wills in English and (via translation), in foreign languages for use in Britain, the Commonwealth and other foreign countries
- verifying of translations from foreign languages to English and vice versa
- taking evidence in England and Wales as a Commissioner for Oaths for foreign courts
- the provision of Notarial copies
- powers of attorney, corporate records, contracts
- international domain name transfers
- A Notary Public’s responsibilities
Notarial acts require a high standard of care, as reliance on such acts is made by clients, third parties and foreign governments and officials. The Notary Public has a responsibility to protect against error, omission, alterations, fraud, and forgery. Notarial acts are not rubber stamping exercises and the requirements of accuracy and validity cannot be overridden by urgency or expense. Unless otherwise agreed in writing Notarial responsibility is limited to the Notarial formalities and does not extend to advice on or drafting of documentation or on the matter under consideration.
Proof of identification
A Notary Public is required to obtain proof (to his discretion and satisfaction), of identity, any represented legal capacity and authority, the client’s understanding of documentation, interpretation/or translation into or from other languages, effectiveness of documentation, validity, signature and witnessing, observance of required formalities both in England and abroad, and the requirements of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and/or any relevant consular or similar authorities.
In the case of individuals, proof of identification will be required in the form of a passport or photo driving licence and a recent utility bill. In the case of companies, details of the proof and information required, depending on the circumstances and service required, should be discussed in advance with the Notary. British Foreign and Commonwealth Office endorsement (and/or the endorsements of the relevant High Commission/Embassy/Consulate of the country in which it is proposed to use the document the subject of a Notarial act), is required in some cases for use abroad.