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What are Notarial Services in the UK? – A Complete Guide

Notaries are a small group of qualified lawyers, with less than 1,000 operating professionally in the UK. Their role is to authenticate and certify signatures and documentation for use overseas. Notarial services can be a complex and strange area to get your head around, which is why this guide aims to break the legality surrounding the services into much easier information.

The history of Notarial Services Notaries is actually the oldest and smallest branch of lawyers in the UK, dating back thousands of years and with less than 1,000 practicing in 2012. When Britain was occupied by the Romans, this branch of civil lawyers bridged the gap between civil law and common law jurisdictions.

What are Notarial Services in the UK

Until 1553 it used to be the role of the Pope to appoint notaries, which meant the majority were members of the clergy, now it is down to the Court of Faculties to choose who can practice notarial services. British notaries are commissioners for oaths and have the same powers as solicitors, barristers and other practitioners of law, except they do not have the right to represent others in court as long as they are licensed or commissioned as a notary.

Since the 1990′s, section 57 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 modernized the regulation of notaries and sets out how to become a notary, either by being qualified as a solicitor or barrister, or ecclesiastical notaries who have a sufficient knowledge of the law and deal mainly with Church of England affairs.

An official notary must provide a signature and stamp to authenticated documents what are Notarial Services? Notaries have to follow a strict procedure in ensuring documentation is authenticated, by them signing the document and then affixing their seal to that document. They must be certain that all of the facts the document contains are authenticate and their signature and seal verifies that.

Other types of notarial services include:>Administration of oaths and declarations>Presenting bills of exchange for acceptance and payment>Attending the drawing up of bonds>Translations and the verification of these translations from foreign languages to English, or the other way around>Taking evidence as a commissioner of oath in foreign courts These are just very few of the types of services a notary can provide, although the full list can be acquired from notaries themselves.

How Notarial Services work and how to find a notary in most cases when a notary is needed, it can be urgent and so many notarial services offer an appointment within 24 hours. If you are dealing with another country in terms of a legal transaction or documentation that needs verifying, then you will need the services of a notary.

It is important to meet with your notary face to face so that they can identify that you are who your personal documents say you are, as well as ensuring you are aware of the nature surrounding the transaction you are taking part in with the other country. When meeting with your notary, you will need to take evidence of your identities, such as a passport along with paperwork showing your current address which could be a bank statement or utility bill. For businesses, the notary will need proof of your company and so will carry out their own search to verify this. It is likely that the director of the company will be the person that needs to sign any paperwork that is provided with the notarial services.

It may be the case that the country will ask for documents to be legalized by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, or even their embassy or consulate. In these cases, a fee will be charged for legalization and so finding a company that offers notarial services, as well as legalizing documents, could save you a lot of time and effort.

A notary will need proof of your identity before being able to offer you notarial servicesConclusionNotarial services are the oldest legal service in the UK, as well as being one of the smallest.

If you need a notary for any transaction with a foreign country then always make sure you are prepared for finding the right company, attending a meeting with your notary, providing them with proof of identity and also being aware that you may need to have your documents legalized on top of the notarial services. If you need notarial services contact Burkett’s who can provide the support/assistance you need. Image Credits: Chris Beckett 1 & Jo Peattie 2

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