VISITING A NOTARY PUBLIC AND MY TERMS OF BUSINESS
- Why a notary? 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. 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.
I offer appointments during business hours and occasionally outside of business hours in exceptional circumstances. I am also prepared to make home visits or visit corporate clients at their place of business. If the notarial appointments take place outside of my office I will make an additional charge to cover travelling time and expenses. Occasionally I may not be able to see you within the time frame you require, or I may decide that I am not able to act for you in which case I will advise you that that is the case and will provide you with the necessary information to locate an alternative notary.
- Signatures: The Notary should normally witness your signature. Please do not sign the document in advance of your appointment with me.
- Papers to be sent to me in advance: It will 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.
- Identification: I will need you to produce by way of formal identification the original of (in preferred order):
- Your current passport (or, if not available);
- A current new driving licence (with photo) or national identity card
In addition, I shall need at least one of the following
- A current government or police issue certificate bearing a photo or other formal means of identification;
- A utility bill, credit card or bank statement 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. I may also ask to see further evidence of identity such as marriage certificates etc and will advise you of this if necessary.
- 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 of the name over the years, please provide me as appropriate with 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 I will need to see a copy of the Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration which dealt with it.
- 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 will not be attempting to advise you about the transaction itself.
- Written Translations: It is essential that you understand what you are signing.
- If the document 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 and I 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
Additionally, companies: In all instances I will be carrying out various company searches, which will may have an effect on the level of fees charged.
Additionally, partnerships, clubs, etc: A Partnership Agreement; or relevant Trust Deed; or Charter; or Constitution/Rules.
- Notarial charges and expenses: Details of my charges are set out below. Please note that if I have to make payments on your behalf such as legalisation fees, translator or interpreter fees, or other costs such as travelling expenses, your approval to these will be obtained and you are normally required to make payment in advance of any such amounts.
Charges: If the matter is simple I will endeavour to charge a fixed fee to include disbursements such as legalisation fees, postage, consular agent fees, courier fees, travelling expenses, translating costs and so on. I do not charge VAT.
For more complicated or time-consuming matters the fee will be based on my hourly rate of £250.00 subject to a minimum fee of £120, plus disbursements. The fee charged may include time spent on preliminary advice, drafting and preparation time, making and receiving telephone calls, correspondence written and received in all formats, arranging legalisation and record keeping. If a matter becomes abortive for any reason a fee of between £25 and £50 may be charged to cover time spent.
Disbursements: Some documents require legalisation before they will be accepted for use in the receiving jurisdiction by obtaining an Apostille through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and, for some countries, additional legalisation is required through the relevant embassy or consulate. I will provide you with a breakdown of all disbursements and postage/courier fees on confirmation of instructions
Payment can be made by cash/cheque/card/bank transfer. Payment of my fee and disbursements is due when the document has been prepared which I may retain pending payment in full.
Occasionally unforeseen or unusual issues arise during the course of the matter which may result in a revision of my fee estimate. Examples of this could include where additional documents are required to be notarised, additional translations or legalisations are needed to meet the requirements of the receiving jurisdiction, third party fees are adjusted to reflect external factors such as fuel price changes and so on. I will notify you of any changes in the fee estimate as soon as possible.
- Typical Stages of a notarial transaction: Each notarial matter is different and the requirements will vary according to whether the client is a private individual or a company. Some of the typical key stages are likely to include:
- Receiving and reviewing the documents to be notarised together with any instructions you may have received
- Liaising with your legal advisors or other bodies to obtain the necessary documentation to deal with the document (e.g. information from Companies House or foreign registries, powers of attorney etc)
- Checking the identity, capacity and authority of the person who is to sign the document
- If a document is to be certified, checking with the issuing authorities that the document/award is genuine. In the case of academic awards, this would entail checking with the appropriate academic institutions.
- Meeting with the signatory to verify their identity and to ascertain that they understand what they are signing and that they are doing so of their own free will and ensuring that the document is executed correctly
- Drafting and affixing or endorsing a notarial certificate to the document
- Arranging for the legalisation of the document as appropriate
- Arranging for the storage of copies of all notarised documents in accordance with the requirements of the Notarial Practice Rules 2019
- Insurance and Limitation of Liability: In the interests of my clients I maintain professional indemnity insurance at a level of at least £1,000,000.00 per claim. Specific cover for higher limits may be obtainable in certain circumstances at your expense. Save as provided under the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, my liability to the Client for any loss, injury or damage of any nature whatever whether direct or consequential, including without limitation in respect of negligence or breach of my duty to the Client, is hereby limited to such sum in respect of any one claim or a series of related claims. The amount of any liability is to be reduced so far as may be appropriate to take account of the degree of responsibility of any other professional or other advisers whom you have consulted in relation to the matter as if I had successfully claimed contribution from them under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 taking no regard for any limitation agreed between you and such advisor, and they had the resources to meet the same, provided that I shall not be obliged to make or pursue any such claim for contribution.No liability whatsoever will be accepted in relation to any loss, damage or liability whatsoever caused directly or indirectly to any party other than you for whom I have agreed to act in connection with the relevant matter. No third party shall have any right to enforce any contract by me to provide advice or services or to rely upon any advice given or opinion expressed by me. The application of any legislation conferring on third parties contractual or other rights, including the Contract (Rights of Third Parties Act 1999) shall be excluded insofar as permitted by law.In any event, no liability whatsoever will be accepted where such liability either arises from any instructions or information given by you or by any third party being incomplete, inaccurate or incorrect; or where such liability is for any indirect, economic or consequential loss or damage, costs, expenses or other claims for consequential compensation whatsoever or howsoever caused which arise out of or in connection with the services provided by me or for loss of profit, loss of business, loss of data, depletion of goodwill or loss occurring in the normal course of business or otherwise.All searches of the Register of Companies carried out by me are made using the Registrar of Companies’ on line service. To the extent that the Registrar does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracies or omissions arising from use of the on line service, I accept no responsibility or liability arising from reliance upon the results of such searches, if they should subsequently be found to be inaccurate or incomplete. These limitations will apply notwithstanding any express or implied term of business or any collateral agreement or warranty, whether express or implied. These terms of business and any disputes or claims arising out of or in connection with them and the provision of services to you are governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales.
- Postage If I need to post documents to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Embassies, clients or agents, the documents will be sent by standard first class post unless otherwise instructed by the client. The client will be responsible for any additional postage costs over and above standard first class post. Please note that any documents posted by me on behalf of the Client are posted at the Client’s risk. If a document is therefore lost in the post, the Client will be responsible for any costs and disbursements incurred in the preparation and completion of any new\replacement document required.
- Client’s money I do not hold client’s money on account except where fees have been paid on account of third party costs such as for translations and legalisation.
- Verification of facts Part of the notary’s role is to check the facts in the documents we notarise for our clients, and this sometimes involves obtaining evidence or proof from sources independent of the Client. In this I need the Client’s full co-operation. The time taken to verify documents will depend on the information provided by the client and also the speed at which the third party authority can respond. If I have to add disclaimers to the document to make it clear that there are facts which I have not been able to verify the document may become useless or of less benefit to the Client and I will not accept liability if this is the case.
- Termination/ Your Right to Cancel: You may terminate your instructions to me at any time by giving me reasonable written notice. All fees and disbursements incurred up to the date of termination will be charged.
Consumer Cooling Off Cancellation Period –Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (“CCR”):
Where the CCR apply (typically where you are an individual consumer and my contract with you was concluded either at or following a meeting with you or by a form of distance communication) you have a cancellation period of 14 days after the date you sign my retainer letter or the date on which you continue to give me instructions, whichever is earlier.
You can cancel your contract within the cancellation period by giving me a clear statement and I will reimburse all payments received from you by the same method that you used, at no cost to you, without undue delay, and not later than 14 days after the day on which you inform me of the cancellation.
If you ask us to begin work during the cancellation period, you can still cancel but you must pay me an amount in proportion to the work which I have performed plus disbursement fees incurred and this proportion will not be reimbursed to you.
- Termination by me: I reserve the right to terminate my engagement by you if I have good reason to do so, for example, if you do not pay a bill or comply with my request for a payment on account or you fail to give me the co-operation which I am reasonably entitled to expect.
- Complaints: My notarial practice is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury:
The Faculty Office
1, The Sanctuary
London SW1P 3JT
Telephone 020 7222 5381
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
PO Box 7655 Milton Keynes MK11 9NR
Tel : 01908 803527
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 6 months from the date you first notified me that you were dissatisfied, make your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman*, if you are not happy with the result :
P O Box 6806
Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ
Tel : 0300 555 0333
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Website : www.legalombudsman.org.uk
If you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman within one year from the act/omission or within one year from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint.
*certain kinds of commercial entities are not eligible to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman – please refer to the Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules or consult the Faculty Office.
- Acceptance of these Terms : Your instructions (or (if relevant and as the case may be) your continuing instructions) will amount to your acceptance of these Terms of Business.
I hope that these notes are of help to you in understanding what is expected of each of us.