Notary Terms of Business
It is preferable that you first make an appointment before attending my office. However, if necessary I can arrange to attend commercial clients at their offices, and individuals in their homes, but bear in mind this will inevitably increase costs and may cause delay. I have to witness your signature, so please do not sign any document in advance of your appointment with me. 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. If you send me photocopies, you must bring the originals to the appointment.
Money on Account
Depending on the circumstances and the work which I am required to do, I may ask for funds on account of work to be done, and/or disbursements to be paid or expenses to be incurred. Money on account is held in the Notary’s client account until such time as an invoice is submitted or a payment made on a client’s behalf. Credits to the Notary’s client account should be made in sufficient time to allow for bank clearance before they are required.
Documents in Foreign Languages
I am prohibited by the Notarial Practice Rules from dealing with documents in a language which I neither speak nor understand. I do not advise on foreign law but only act in an evidential, authentication capacity. I do not notarise or produce documents in any foreign language. However, I deal with accredited translators, and for an additional charge I can arrange for such documents to be translated, with accompanying affidavit attesting to the accuracy of translations. Similarly, I can also arrange for English documents to be translated into the language of the receiving jurisdiction if requested. Some embassies/consulates provide a translation service and you may arrange this direct, if you wish.
Your Own Professional Advisers
Before instructing a Notary, it is advisable to obtain legal advice from your own lawyers and/or professional advisers, whether in the UK or abroad. You may potentially be taking a huge risk of relying on documents prepared by another party or their advisers, without yourself taking independent legal or other competent professional advice. If you have not done so, you may be advised to obtain advice from (a) English lawyer(s) and/or (b) relevant foreign lawyer(s), and/or (c) other competent professional advisers before the transaction proceeds. I will ask you to provide me with a copy of such advice or instructions from such lawyers and advisers. Urgency and/or expense must not override essential accuracy and validity.
Rules and Regulations
As a Notary I am bound by the rules and regulations of the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury (The Notarial Practice Rules 2014), and the rules of the Notaries Society of England and Wales. I am also bound to observe UK laws, and to comply with the formal requirements of the countries to which documents are being sent.
Clients are requested to be mindful that individual notaries do not write the Rules but have to follow internationally recognised and acceptable procedures. Also, professional requirements in the U.K. have become more stringent and onerous through progressive assimilation with European notarial standards, and global developments affecting notarial practice.
In my capacity as a Notary Public, among other things, I must insist on and be satisfied as to your identity, your legal capacity and/or authority, your understanding and approval of the transaction. I must also be satisfied that you are entering into the transaction voluntarily and not under undue influence; that there has been no fraud or violence, observance of and compliance with the required legal formalities in the UK and the foreign country concerned.
If the foreign country/authority/ party with whom you are dealing stipulates that documents are to be notarised, then they will not settle for less. Short cuts should be avoided to ensure that the document is accepted and not rejected by the recipient country/authority. The cost of rejection is delay, missing a vital deadline, possible financial loss to you or others and having to start all over again, at greater expense and loss of time to you.
Legalisation and Apostille
Legalisation is the process by which the signature and seal of the notary are authenticated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and/or the Embassy or Consulate of the country in which the document is to be used.
Most countries require notarised documents to receive further certification (called “an Apostille”) by the FCO under the Hague Convention of 1961; and/or legalisation by the relevant High Commission, Embassy or Consulate. This will take longer. Documents going to countries which are, or have been, part of the British Commonwealth very seldom require legalisation nor, at present, do documents going to many parts of the United States. Some Arab countries also require legalisation by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce. They charge different fees (which, depending on the country concerned, can be over £400.00 per document), and their procedures vary. The FCO will directly legalise Official Copies of British Birth, Marriage and Death certificates, but not photocopies. You do not need them notarised first. Please note that the FCO offices in Milton Keynes and London no longer allow members of the public to deal with legalisation at their offices. Only accredited companies are allowed to attend. I deal with accredited agents who can turn documentation around quickly. I will discuss legislation fees with you at the time of instructions.
There are other procedures that apply only to a few countries, and there can be problems if a document is to be used in a country with which the United Kingdom does not have diplomatic relations. Upon initial approach to me, I will check the requirements of the country concerned and notify clients of any anticipated difficulties which may/will be encountered.
Notarial Register & Protocol
On conclusion of the matter I am required to record details of the transaction in my Notarial Register, and also keep a copy of the notarised documentation for twelve years and, in some cases, permanently. A fully executed set of duplicate originals is required, or advisable, to be retained by me. In some instances, I may retain the original and issue a certified copy.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
On 25th May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes law. This means the rules around how your personal data is protected have changed, and new EU legislation, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines how companies can collect, store and process your personal information.
I will not be liable for any loss or damage arising as a direct or indirect result of the supply of services being prevented, hindered, delayed or rendered uneconomic by reason of circumstances beyond my control, including but not limited to Acts of God, war, riot, strike, lock out, trade dispute or labour disturbance, civil commotion, malicious damage, compliance a law, rule regulation or direction, accident, breakdown or other failure of equipment, software or communications network, fire, flood, storm or difficulty or increased expense in obtaining information or services of any description.
Disclaimer of Liability
No liability whatsoever will be accepted on my part, agents or staff in relation to any loss, damage or liability whatsoever caused directly or indirectly to any party other than the client for whom I have agreed to act in connection with the relevant matter. No third party shall have any right to enforce any contract to provide advice or services or to rely upon any advice given or opinion expressed by me or on my behalf. 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 on my part, agents or staff where such liability either arises from any instructions or information given by the client 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.
Professional Indemnity/Limitations on Liability
The level of my professional indemnity insurance is £1,000,000. No liability for loss (including, but not limited to, damages, costs and interest) to clients or other parties, whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise will be accepted by me, my agents or staff in relation to any matter in the absence of specific written agreement to the contrary referring to this term and signed me, in excess of the amount of my professional indemnity insurance cover from time to time.
I use e-mail wherever possible, unless instructed otherwise. Where a client has provided me with an e-mail address, e.g., by sending me an e-mail, I will assume that I may use that address for the sending of unencrypted sensitive or confidential correspondence or documents to the client. I may also, during the course of a matter, send unencrypted sensitive or confidential information to other persons involved, unless specifically requested by them or the client not to do so. All e-mails sent and the attachments thereto should be scanned for viruses by the recipient.
Money Laundering Requirements
I am legally bound to comply with the government’s money laundering requirements. All payments to my Notary account must be made via a UK clearing bank. It is my policy not to accept cash payments over £500. Please also note that changes to instructions late in the day may affect my ability to proceed with the matter.
Modification to Terms and Conditions
I may change any provision of these terms and conditions. I further reserve the right to change and/or amend these terms and conditions at any time to reflect changes in law, regulation or codes of practice which apply to Notaries or the way we are regulated.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction:
These terms shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. The courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute arising out of or in connection with these terms (including any dispute relating to any non-contractual obligation arising out of or in connection with these terms). If any provision of these terms is held by any court or other competent authority to be void or unenforceable in whole or part, these terms shall continue to be valid as to the other provisions thereof and the remainder of the affected provision.
My notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose address is:
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
Northampton, NN5 5LH
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 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
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.
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