A Notary Public is a qualified lawyer and is a member of a specialised branch of the legal profession. A Notary is an independent officer and must not do anything to compromise this independence.

If you are involved in a legal transaction with another country, it is likely that a Notary Public will be needed at some stage to witness documents or certify information. The Notary Public will verify to the authorities in that country that relevant checks have been carried out, that the document has been properly signed and that it will be effective in the country it is being sent to. All the work carried out by the Notary Public will relate to international legal matters in one way or another.

Many countries also require documents to be legalised once they have been signed and sealed by the Notary Public. Legalisation is a further process to ensure that the document is valid in the relevant country. The requirements for legalisation will depend on the country but will always involve the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It may be necessary for the document also to be legalised by the applicable Consulate or Embassy. The Notary Public can deal with these legalisation requirements on your behalf.

What services is our Notary Public able to provide?

The Notary is able to provide a number of services include the following:

  • authenticating company and business documents and transactions
  • preparing and witnessing powers of attorney for use overseas
  • 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, and to work abroad
  • witnessing the signatures on documents
  • authenticating the execution of documents
  • authenticating the contents of documents
  • administration of oaths and declarations
  • 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.

This list is not exhaustive and you should please contact us direct if you are unsure as to whether you require a Notary Public or not.

How long does the process take?

There is often some urgency when Notarial services are required and our Notary can usually be available at short notice if necessary.

Only one meeting with the Notary is usually necessary and the minimum amount of time for that meeting is usually 30 minutes if the document has already been prepared by someone else and the Notary has seen the document before the meeting.

If the document needs further authentication by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and/or the Embassy then the Notary can arrange this. This process can take anything from 24 hours (if an expedited procedure is used) to three to four weeks depending on the Embassy involved.

What fees will be involved?

Fees will be charged largely on a time spent basis at an hourly rate of £315 plus VAT which is currently charged at 20%. Rates are reviewed from time to time and we reserve the right to charge an additional element reflecting other factors such as distance from the office, urgency, value, importance or complexity.

The fee will include all time spent on the matter, including time spent dealing with preliminary matters such as telephone calls, emails and drafting as well as post-completion matters such as completion of the Notary’s register. Time will be charged in six minute units.

You will be charged for any disbursements incurred by us in connection with your instructions. These may include fees payable to the Foreign Office, Foreign Embassies or agents dealing with legalisation of documents, or courier or postal charges for sending notarised documents abroad and translators’ fees.

The Notary Public will provide an estimate or a fixed price at the outset before carrying out any chargeable work on your behalf.

Regulatory and complaint information

The Notary Public’s practice at Birketts is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The contact details for the Faculty Office are:

The Faculty Office,
1 The Sanctuary,

020 7222 5381
[email protected]

We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care but if you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact the Notary Public Louise Long. If the Notary Public is unable to resolve the matter, you may then complain to the Notaries Society of which the Notary Public is a member, who have a complaints procedure which is approved by the Faculty Office. Please write (but do not enclose any original documents) with full details to:

The Secretary of The Notaries Society
Old Church Chambers
23 Sandhill Road
St James

Even if you have your complaint considered under the Notaries Society Approved Complaints Procedure, you may at the end of that procedure, or after a period of eight weeks from the date you first notified the Notary Public that you were dissatisfied, make your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, if you are not happy with the result:

Legal Ombudsman
PO Box 6806

0300 555 0333
[email protected]

If you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman within six months from the conclusion of the complaint process.

Key contacts

Louise Long

Partner - Head of Private Client Advisory
Notary Public

+44 (0)1473 299176

+44(0)7772 138823

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