If you require documents or signatures to be certified or authenticated for use abroad then it is likely you will require the services of a notary public. A notary public is a lawyer appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury whose status is generally recognised around the world.

Qualifying as a notary in 1995, Simon Robinson, Partner at the firm, is one of a handful of notary publics in the County Durham region, with fewer than 900 practising in England and Wales (outside of the City of London).

As a Notary Public, Simon is able to deal with a number of transactions, including:

  • Witnessing powers of attorney for use overseas
  • Witnessing signatures to documents relating to the purchase or sale of land and property abroad
  • Authenticating personal documents and information for immigration and emigration purposes, or for applications to marry or work abroad
  • Authenticating company business documents and transactions

On occasion, further formalities may be necessary before a document will be accepted overseas. For example, an ‘Apostille’ or a certificate confirming the authenticity of the signature and seal of a notary is commonly required from the Foreign and Commonwealth. This is known as ‘legalisation’. Alternatively, or additionally, authentication may be required from the embassy or consulate of the relevant country. The good news is, Simon can organise all of these supplementary services on your behalf.

What is a notary?

A notary is a qualified lawyer a member of the third and eldest branch of the legal profession in the United Kingdom.

In times when most people were illiterate, traders and merchants needed someone to record what they had agreed. The clergy were the main literate group from whom the Church appointed notaries.

What do notaries do?

Within England and Wales a notary public is authorised to carry out all legal work other than the conduct of litigation.  However, typically, a notary prepares, witnesses or certifies documents for use abroad.

One of the most frequent functions of a notary is the attestation or authentication of powers of attorney for use abroad as many foreign legal systems require powers of attorney to be executed before a notary.

A notary may also be called upon to certify the proper execution or signing of any sort of document that is to be used overseas and, if required, to confirm that it is binding in English Law.

What is the difference between a solicitor and a notary?

Notaries are appointed by the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury and are subject to regulation by the Master of the Faculties.

The rules which affect notaries are very similar to the rules which affect solicitors.

When would I require a notary?

The services of a notary are usually required when a document is required to be authenticated for use abroad.

In many jurisdictions across the world, the authentication of documents for use abroad can only be carried out by a notary public as solicitors and barristers are not usually recognised the same way as a notary public in foreign jurisdiction.

What kind of legal work can a notary assist with?

A notary will typically deal with the following:

  • authentication of powers of attorney for use overseas;
  • authenticating personal documents and information for immigration or emigration purposes or to allow to marry or work abroad such as education or professional qualifications or declarations of freedom to marry;
  • authenticating company and business documents and transactions or providing certificates as to the status of a company or the identity of its directors.

Simon Andrew Robinson, Notary Public of Venture House, Aykley Heads Business Centre, Durham, DH1 5TS is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

For the purpose of notarial services, Swinburne Maddison LLP’s standard Terms and Conditions and Privacy and Data Protection policy do not apply, instead they are replaced by the following Notary Public Terms and Conditions and Notary Public Data Protection and Privacy Notice

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