For many English documents to be accepted by foreign courts and civil authorities, they need to be notarised. It’s a term you’ll come across if you’re preparing documents for overseas uses, as most need to be prepared and signed in front of a Notary Public to be authenticated. It’s a service that both individuals and businesses could need.
Who is a Notary?
In the UK, a Notary Public is a public officer appointed by the Court of Faculties of The Archbishop of Canterbury. Each Notary Public is given the authority to draw, attest or certify under their official seal, for use anywhere in the world, deeds and other documents, including:
• Conveyances of real and personal property
• Powers of attorney
Put simply, a Notary Public acts as a third-party witness to prepare and authenticate documents. The seal of a Notary Public ensures that a document will be acceptable to the judicial or other public authorities of any country. Some declarations and deeds will clearly state that witnessing has to be done by a Notary Public.
The importance of legislation
In addition to sealing by the Notary Public, many documents need to be legalised. Different state authorities will have different criteria regarding how they verify the authenticity of documents.
When a document is legalised, a stamped official certificate – known as an apostille – is attached. Apostilling a document will happen when one country needs to satisfy the state authority of another country that the signature of a public officer such as a Notary Public is genuinely his or hers. In summary:
• A Public Notary’s seal will verify to countries internationally that relevant checks have been carried out and the documents are authentic.
• An Apostille legalises a document by confirming that the signature, stamp or seal is from a UK public official.
Gullands’ notarial services
You might not always need notarial services. In many cases, the addition of an Apostille sealed by the Foreign Commonwealth Office will be enough.
Examples when you could need the services of a Public Notary include:
• Attesting signatures to powers of attorney for the purchase and sale of property abroad
• Preparing statutory declarations for those wishing to emigrate from this country
• Certifying copy documents such as passports to be true copies of the originals
• Attesting sponsorship declarations for persons wishing to visit this country
• Attesting the signatures of directors and other company officers to company documents for use abroad
• Attesting certificates of existence for people receiving overseas pensions
• Preparing declarations of freedom to marry for persons wishing to be married abroad
Gullands partner, Alex Astley, was admitted as a Notary Public in January 2007. He undertakes all notarial services, including legalisation, efficiently and professionally.
If you require a notarial act, or have any queries, contact him on 01622 689755 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also complete the online contact form and we’ll get back to you with further information.