A Notary Public is a qualified lawyer who acts as a bridge between different legal systems. Notaries are members of the oldest branch of the legal profession and have to go through extensive legal training. They are appointed by the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury and are subject to strict guidelines similar to those governing Solicitors. They are required to maintain special insurance for the protection of clients and to keep client money separate from their own. Notaries also have to renew their practising certificates every year.
What is a Commissioner for Oaths?
A Commissioner for Oaths (sometimes called a Commissioner of Oaths) is concerned with witnessing the signing and swearing of a document, such as taking affidavits under the Commissioners for Oaths Act 1889. A Notary Public is also a Commissioner for Oaths, but so is any Solicitor, Barrister, legal executive or licensed Conveyancer. This is normally charged at £5 per act, then £2 for each additional act under the Commissioners for Oaths (Fees) Order 1993/1997. However, a Notary Public may charge more than this in-keeping with their usual fees. It’s advisable to get a quote first.
What Does a Notary Public Do?
What is a Notary Signature?
A Notary Signature is the signature and seal of a Notary supplied to swear that a document is genuine. This is the first step in the process of Legalisation.
What is Legalisation?
Legalisation is the process by which a Notary Signature is authenticated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and/or the Embassy or Consulate of the destination country. It usually involves obtaining an Apostille Certificate.
This is usually unnecessary for documents going to countries that are or have been part of the Commonwealth. It also doesn’t apply to documents going to the USA.
What is an Apostille?
An Apostille Certificate (sometimes also called an Apostille Stamp) is a certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that authenticates a document as genuine. This means no further action or legal proceedings are necessary to make that document legally binding in another country. This may include documents such as birth certificates, degrees, patent applications, decree absolutes, powers of attorney and court orders. Obtaining an Apostille Certificate is also referred to as legalisation.
Why Do I Need My Document Legalised?
Sometimes when you present a legal document in a foreign country, it is difficult for their legal system to recognise it as genuine because they have different procedures and different ways of issuing important documents.
Which Countries Accept Legalised Documents?
There are 112 members of The Hague Convention who accept legalised documents. Other countries accept them too, but there may be an additional process needed via their Consulate or Embassy to legalise documents. For example, Canada is not a signatory to The Hague Convention and will require an additional step.
Foreign Law and Languages
It’s not uncommon for a Notary Public to speak different languages. However, it is essential that both you and your Notary Public understand the document in need of legalisation and it may be necessary to get the document professionally translated at an additional cost. It’s also possible that a translator may need to be present at your appointment.
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