TERMS OF BUSINESS
1. Not a mere-rubber stamping exercise
The international duty of a Notary involves a high standard of care. This is not only towards you as 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.
As a Notary, I have to act independently; my overriding duty is “to the transaction”.
The Notary should normally witness your signature. Please do not jump the gun by signing the document in advance of your appointment with me.
3. papers to be sent to me in advance
It can save time, expense, and mistakes if, as long before the appointment as possible, you can let me have the originals or 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.
I will need you to produce by way of formal identification the original of (in preferred order):
- Your current passport (of if not available);
- A current new driving license (with photo)
If neither of the above are available, at least two of the following:
- A current old style driving license (without photo); or other formal means of identification;
- A utility bill showing your current address;
- Any other means of ID, which may be referred to in the papers, sent to you as being required.
If any of the above do not incorporate a good photographic likeness, please be ready to let me have a recent photograph for me to have with my records.
5. proof of names
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 the name over the years, please provide me with, e.g., Certificates of Birth, Baptism, Marriage, or a Divorce Decree. If there has been a change of name, then I will need to see a copy of the Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration, which dealt with it.
6. chain of evidence
Notarisation is accepted as a safeguard under international law. The signature and seal of the Notary are recognised as a link in the chain of evidence relating to international documents. If, therefore, I seem to you to be a bit fussy over minor details, please understand the responsibility placed on me.
7. examining the evidence
Accordingly, careful examination of the Notary is required to check whether both the document to be notarised and your personal ID are original, genuine, valid, complete, accurate and unaltered.
8. incomplete documents
The Notary has to check that each document to be notarised is fully completed. Unfortunately, many documents produced as ready for signature have blank spaces left in them, not always intentionally! This occurs even when other lawyers or professional advisers have prepared them. If you can help in identifying the information needed to completely any blanks in documents, it will save time when we meet. However, please do not mark the document itself until I have seen it.
9. advice on the document
If you bring a document to me for authorisation as a Notary I will advise you as to the formalities required for completing it. However, I shall not be attempting to advise you about the transaction itself, and you must seek such advice from your own lawyers or persons asking you to have the document signed before me.
10. written translations
It is so important that you understand what you are signing.
- Sometimes a professional translation is required.
- If it is in a foreign language, which you do not understand sufficiently, I may have to insist that a translation be obtained. If I arrange for a translation, a further fee will be payable.
- Unless you have a good understanding of the language yourself, an informal amateur translation is rarely satisfactory.
- 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”.
11. oral interpreter
If you and I 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.
12. companies, partnerships, etc.
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 I may have to insist. Please be prepared for these and telephone with any point of difficulty before attending on the appointment.
In each case:
- 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.
- In some instances, I may have to see a copy of the latest Annual Accounts; and the latest Tax Assessment, the latest quarterly VAT Return.
- Certificates of Incorporation and of any Change of Name.
- A copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association
- Details of Directors and Secretary.
Additionally, partnerships, clubs, etc.:
- A Partnership Agreement; or relevant Trust Deed; or Charter; or Constitution/Rules.
I may have to insist on seeing originals of these documents. If you do show me photocopies, they would have to be certified on behalf of the person holding the originals and who may not be able to release them. The certificate should be in the following form:
“I certify that this (with the following …. Pages) is a true and complete copy of the original document which is currently held by me.
Full name of signatory:
Who certifies in his/her capacity as:
13. notarial charges and expenses
- My charges: My current hourly rate is £230. The minimum charged for dealing with a single document is normally £100.
- Once I have seen any documents and any instructions sent to you about the document, I may be able to give you a firm indication or an estimate of the likely charges.
- Payments out on your behalf: I may have to pay legalisation fees to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and/or a Foreign Embassy. There might be translator or interpreter fees. Other payments may be required including 1.Agents Fees re: obtaining an Apostille from the Foreign Office and to include special delivery of the document to its final destination and or postagefees.2.Travelling expenses. Your approval to these will be obtained and you are normally required to make a payment in advance of any such amounts.
- Basis of charging: If it is a simple matter of witnessing a document, a fixed fee will be charged. If there are complications or if I am required to draft a document, or obtain legalisation, the charge will be based upon time spent. This may include telephone calls made or received, letters sent and received, time spent in interview, on drafting, and on preparing the necessary entries in my Notarial register.
- Special factors which might result in an increase in the charge include:
1. Complexity or novelty
2. The number and importance of the documents
3. If the work has to be done away from this office
4. Special urgency, which may require me to drop other work to deal with yours or if the work unavoidably has to be dealt with outside office hours
- Payment: My Notarial charges are normally payable upon signature of the document requiring notarisation and I reserve the right to retain any completed document until payment has been received.
14. notarial records
When I carry out my work for you, I am required to make an entry in a formal register, which is kept by me as a permanent record. I will retain a copy of the notarised documentation with that record in the case of “Public” documents I will keep a copy bearing your original signature on it so I can issue further certified copies if required to do so in the future by you. I can be required to deal with queries from e.g. foreign lawyers, Land Registries or Embassies to confirm that fact that you saw me.
15. complaints procedure
Practice Rule 8 of the Notaries Practice Rules 2014
My notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury :
The Faculty Office
1, The Sanctuary
If you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact me.
If we are unable to resolve the matter you may then complain to the Notaries Society of which I am a member, who have a Complaints Procedure which is approved by the Faculty Office. This procedure is free to use and is designed to provide a quick resolution to any dispute.
In that case please write (but do not enclose any original documents) with full details of your complaint to:
The Secretary of The Notaries Society
Old Church Chambers
23 Sandhill Road
Tel 01604 758908
If you have any difficulty in making a complaint in writing please do not hesitate to call the Notaries Society/the Faculty Office for assistance.
Finally, 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 of making the complaint to me, make your complaint direct to the Legal Ombudsman (whose contact details are set out below) if the matter has not been resolved to your satisfaction :
P O Box 6806
Tel : 0300 555 0333
If you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman:
Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and
Six years from the date of act/omission; or
Three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint (only if the act took place more than six years ago)
The act or omission, or when you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5 October 2010.
Certain kinds of commercial entities are not eligible to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman – please refer to the Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rule or consult the Faculty Office.
I hope that these notes are of help to you in your understanding of what is expected of each of us.
R.A. Salisbury, Notary Public