Remote notarisation, carbon footprint and cyber security

I recently engaged with Liverpool John Moores University to see how my notarial services impacted on my carbon footprint. Discover how I got on.

“The potential carbon saving was based on assumptions – but a significant carbon saving”.

Scott A. Caldwell BSc (Hons), CPC, MSc, AMIMarEST, AFHEA, AUA
ECO-I North-West Project Faculty of Engineering and Technology
Liverpool John Moores University

I already take steps where possible to use recyclable material (all plastic bags are 100% recyclable and have been recycled themselves). As a paper-based service, there is not just the paper, ink and ribbon to consider, but also its carbon footprint on travel. Not just clients travelling to me, but all of the documents produced here need to be sent somewhere, sometimes to more than one destination. For example, if I need to notarise a document for use in Dubai, sometimes the original has been sent to the UK by courier, then to the agent by Royal Mail, who take it to the FCDO, collect it and then take it to the embassy. After this it will be collected again and then sent to the customer or end recipient, this totals seven journeys and many miles of travel.

Now, we are nowhere near the point where we can ‘do away’ with paper all together, but with remote notarisation the carbon footprint would be reduced significantly. There are pros and cons to each method of notarisation. The traditional paper method is well used, recognised and enforceable. Many jurisdictions will only receive documents in this format. Often we can produce a digital document, but an in-person meeting would need to take place in order to witness a document being signed or an oath, declaration or affidavit taken. The digital format is less widely used for notarisation purposes, but awareness is becoming more apparent in England and Wales. The notarial practice rules also mean that I can only be in the physical presence of someone signing a deed, such as a power of attorney. So, while this all seems restrictive, we do have some leeway to produce them digitally, if not remotely.

One of the concerns that came out of the report was that of cyber security. While an ever-increasing reliance on technology does have it downsides, such as malware, phishing emails and man in the middle/injection attacks, these can be heavily reduced with the right security features and training. As well as utilising security systems, using well known and highly regarded platforms and exercising due diligence, I have become a member of North West Cyber Resilience Centre. They offer free membership, training, and information to help prevent your business succumbing to a cyber-attack.

With all this in mind, and whether or not you would like to use e-notarisation services, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we can discuss your matter in more detail.