Terms of business

My function as a Notary is to provide you with notarial services. These services will be confirmed in advance. I am responsible for all parties to the document and those that will rely on its contents.

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. The notarial services will be offered in both a paper-based format as well as digitally and will be produced based upon guidance from the recipient as it is a new system. In addition to notarial services, I also offer will writing and lasting powers of attorney at my discretion. Some of this document refers directly to notarial matters rather than wills and LPAs.

I hope that these notes are of help to you in understanding what is expected of each of us.

Terms of Business

1. Office hours: Please note that my hours of work are Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm. I will have limited access to emails outside of these times. Meetings must be arranged in advance and can be outside of these hours, or away from my office for which reasonable travel costs for time and the journey will be made. Occasionally I may not be able to see you within the timeframe 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.

2. Signatures: I should normally witness your signature. Please do not sign the document in advance of your appointment with me.

3. 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.

4. Identification: You are required to prove your identity and your residential address with original documents if you are an individual. If you are a company, you will also need to provide authority for the signatory and other company documents upon request. This is part of my client due diligence and in accordance with the guidance for anti-money laundering regulations. Electronic verification of your identity may be required during this process.

5. 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.

If neither of the above are available, at least two 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 identity 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.

6. 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, as appropriate please provide me with Certificates of Birth, Marriage or Divorce Decree or 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.

7. Advice on the document: I will not provide advice on foreign law. My responsibility lies with the notarial formalities only and does not include drafting of documents or substantive legal input into the matter. Notarial acts are relied upon by third parties and duties relate to the transaction.

8. 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.”

9. Oral Translations: If you and I cannot understand each other because of a language difficulty, we may have to arrangement for a competent, independent interpreter to be available at our interview and this may involve a further fee.

10. 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 are complied with. Please be prepared for these and advise of 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: Certificate of Incorporation and of any Change of Name, a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association, Details of Directors and Secretaries. In all instances I will be carrying out various company searches, which may influence the level of fees charged.
  • Additionally, partnerships, clubs, etc will require a Partnership Agreement; or relevant Trust Deed; or Charter; or Constitution/Rules.

11. I am legally required by the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and other legislation to ensure measures are taken against fraud and forgery. You will agree to provide any documents that are requested, or work will cease.

12. 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.

13. The minimum fee is £90, and my fees are based on an hourly rate of £180 and divisions of the hour. Please note that these rates are subject to change dependent upon the instructions received and requests made, I will endeavour to charge a fixed fee for a simple matter and for more complicated or time-consuming matters I will charge my hourly rate and divisions of it. Disbursements are in addition to these fees. I do not charge VAT on my fees. You will be advised of the fee ahead of your confirmation to commence work, but this could increase or decrease if your instructions change.

14. All disbursements incurred on your behalf are your responsibility and they will be itemised on your invoice. These include, but are not limited to postage, courier fees, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and/or an Embassy legalisation fees, legalisation agents’ fees, Companies Registry fees and digital document production fees. You will be advised of these fees and your agreement will be sought before they are incurred.

15. If we have agreed that I will arrange a courier, or send your documents by Royal Mail, I cannot be held responsible for them being lost in transit. I will of course endeavour to recreate the lost document as a certified copy (where applicable) or produce a new one where appropriate for the appropriate costs.

16. Payment is to be made on or before production of the document and documents will not be released until full payment has been made. Please pay BACS transfer, card payment (Zettle by SumUp), SumUp QR code, PayPal or cash. Any amount over £500 cannot be paid in cash.

17. Occasionally unforeseen or unusual issues arise during 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.

18. Documents may take several communications and/or appointments to resolve.

19. I will not act as Trustee, Executor or in any Probate matters arising from any Will or Lasting Power of Attorney that I have prepared for you.

20. It is your responsibility to provide full and relevant details of the circumstances from which your matter arises.

21. Typical Stages of a notarial transaction: Each notarial matter is different, and the requirements and timescales will vary greatly according to whether the client is a private individual or a company and in particular according to the processing times of third parties such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office, legalisation agents, translating agencies and couriers, etc. 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 (either in-person or electronically in the case of a remote notarisation) 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 (either on paper or digitally) 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

22. Insurance: I carry professional indemnity liability cover of £1,000,000 which is the minimum level of cover specified by the Master of the Faculties. I therefore limit the level of my liability to you to £1,000,000.

23. Data Protection: You shall and you hereby agree to indemnify the Business and its affiliates and their officers, employees, agents and subcontractors (each an “Indemnified Party”) from and against any claims, losses, demands, actions, liabilities, fines, penalties, reasonable expenses, damages and settlement amounts (including reasonable legal fees and costs) incurred by any Indemnified Party arising out of or in connection with any breach by you of the warranties included in paragraphs 8 & 9 of the Data Protection Privacy Notice available on my website.

24. You shall and hereby agree to the Data Protection Policy, a copy of which is available on my website and on request.

25. 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. My practice is a registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Personal data received from clients is held securely and not capable of being accessed externally. Data collected as part of notarial records is used solely for the purposes of meeting our professional legal responsibilities as Notaries Public. For full details of my Privacy Policy and data processing terms please see my website: Privacy Policy.

26. I maintain records of all work undertaken and will keep them securely (electronically) in accordance with Notarial Practise Rules (Rules) and the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (Legislation) for a minimum of 12 years. I will use and keep these records for the provision of my services, marketing, administration, prevention of fraud, money laundering and allowing service providers to provide their services (their details are available upon request). They will be open to inspection by the Faculty Office. Please note that some personal data is compulsory for me to complete your matter, without this information we will not be able to proceed. If this is the case, you will be informed of what you need to supply. By signing and returning these terms of business you agree to the data being retained. You may withdraw your consent in accordance with current legislation. You may also make a request to know what data I hold for you and where it has been sent upon provision of your identification. Please note that the premises are secured by video surveillance and your images will be stored by Ring.com on their servers for 30 days, to which I have access for security reasons.

27. Any person with a proper interest in a notarial act may request a copy of a notarial act or of the record of a notarial act unless prevented by a valid court order.

28. 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.

29. Where the Consumer Cooling Off Cancellation Period –Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (“CCR”) apply (typically where you are an individual consumer and my contract with you was concluded either at or following a meeting with you off premises 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 me 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, and this proportion will not be reimbursed to you.

30. 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.

31. Complaints: The complaints procedure is detailed below, which you will need to follow if you are unsatisfied with the high level of service I strive to provide.

32. Equality and Diversity: I am committed to promoting equality and diversity in all dealings with clients and third parties.

33. Governing Law: The law governing this contract is the law of England and Wales and will be dealt with via dispute resolution or in the English courts.

Complaints procedure

1. My notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury:

The Faculty Office
1, The Sanctuary
London SW1P 3JT

Telephone 020 7222 5381

Email faculty.office@1thesanctuary.com
Website www.facultyoffice.org.uk

2. If you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact me.

3. 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.

4. 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 1023

Ipswich IP1 9XB
Email secretary@thenotariessociety.org.uk

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.

5. 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 8 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:

Legal Ombudsman
P O Box 6167
Slough SL1 0EH

Telephone 0300 555 0333

Email enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Website www.legalombudsman.org.uk

6. 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 have reasonably known there was cause for complaint.