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Frequently Asked Questions

In England and Wales, a notary is a legally qualified and regulated professional who makes independent statements to the world at large in relation to cross-border activities. This can include verifying, authenticating and recording deeds, documents and facts.

Notaries in England and Wales are authorised to issue notarial certifications in languages other than English in which they are sufficiently competent.

It is a vital function and serves to bridge the gaps left by international law in our increasingly globalised lives.

Scrivener notaries belong to the general notarial profession. However, they form a discrete and highly qualified branch within it. Having qualified first as general notaries, scrivener notaries go on to obtain their scrivener qualifications while undertaking a training contract with a scrivener notary firm or by undertaking a period of supervision by a scrivener notary. Scrivener notaries are trained in advanced aspects of notarial practice and at least two foreign languages and jurisdictions. The purpose of this legal and linguistic qualification process is to ensure that scrivener notaries are leaders in the field of notarial services in the context of international transactions, something which is demanded in London due to its status as a world leading hub for cross-border business.

It is almost always the case that you have been asked to see a notary because you have a document that needs to be used abroad. Sometimes you may also have been specifically asked to seek out the specialist services of a Scrivener Notary. 

Whatever your case, you can be assured we will guide you through the process and do what we can to ensure your business is concluded abroad.

Seeing a notary is never a mere rubber-stamping exercise. The international duty of a Notary involves a high standard of care. This is not only towards the client but also to anyone who may rely on the document and to Governments or officials of other countries. These people are entitled to assume that a Notary will ensure full compliance with the relevant requirements both here and abroad; and to rely on the Notary’s register and records. Great care is essential at every stage to minimise the risks of errors, omissions, alterations, fraud, forgery, money laundering, the use of false identity, and so on.

We cannot usually confirm fees or our ability to assist without first seeing the proposed documents to be notarised.

It is therefore best to first get in touch and book an appointment.

We will need you to produce by way of formal identification the original of either:

  • Your current passport (or, if not available);
  • A current new driving licence (with photo) or national identity card

As well as proof of address in the form of:

  • A full UK current driving licence (with photo), if not already provided as primary form of identification;
  • A utility bill, credit card or bank statement that has been posted to you, showing your current address, which should not be more than 3 months old; or council tax bill.

You must also bring any other means of ID which may be referred to in the papers sent to you as being required such as a foreign Identity Card.

We may also ask to see further evidence of identity such as marriage certificates etc and will advise you of this if necessary.

If a document is to be signed by you on behalf of a company, a partnership, a charity, club or other incorporated body, there are further requirements on which we may have to insist. Please be prepared for these and telephone with any point of difficulty before attending on the appointment.

In each case, at a minimum, we will require:

  • Evidence of identity of the authorised signatory (as listed above);
  • A copy of the current letterhead (showing the registered office if it is a company);
  • A Letter of Authority, Minute, Resolution or Power of Attorney, authorising you to sign the document.

Additionally,  for companies:

Certificate of Incorporation and of any Change of Name, A copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association, Details of Directors and Secretaries.

In all instances we will be carrying out various company searches, which will have an effect on the level of fees charged.

Additionally, for partnerships, clubs, etc:

A Partnership Agreement; or relevant Trust Deed; or Charter; or Constitution/Rules.

It will save time, expense and mistakes if, as long before the appointment as possible, you can send the originals or electronic photocopies of:

  • The documents to be notarised;
  • Any letter or other form of instruction which you have received about what has to be done with the documents;
  • Your evidence of identification.

The Notary should normally witness your signature. Please do not sign the document in advance of your appointment.

In a case where the name on the document is different from the name you are currently using, or there has been a variation in the form of spelling of the name over the years, please provide as appropriate Certificates of Birth, Marriage or Divorce Decree of Change of Name Deed showing all the different names that you use.

If there has been a change of name, then we will need to see a copy of the Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration which dealt with it.

If you bring a document to us for authorisation as a Notary, we will advise you as to the formalities required for completing it.

We also have specialist knowledge on what is usually required and what the document may mean in practice.

However, we will not be attempting to advise you about the transaction itself.

It is essential that you and the Notary both understand what you are signing.

If the document is in a foreign language which you do not understand sufficiently, we may have to insist that a translation be obtained. If we arrange for a translation, a further fee will be payable and we will provide you with details of this.

If you arrange for a professional translation, the translator should add his/her name, address, relevant qualification, and a certificate stating: “Document X is a true and complete translation of document Y, to which this translation is attached.” We may carry out verifications on the professional who issues such a certificate.

If we cannot understand each other because of a language difficulty, we may have to make arrangements for a competent interpreter to be available at our interview and this may involve a further fee.