A public notary is a public official – a member of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in England and Wales, who is appointed by a state government to help deter fraud and are tasked with verifying the authenticity of your most important transactions.

What Does A Notary Public Do?

They witness the signing of the important documents and verifying the identity of the signer(s), their willingness to sign the documents, and their awareness of the contents of the document or transaction.

They are also authorized to conduct general legal practices such as probate and conveyancing. Majority of Public notary also practice as solicitors but neither the Scrivener Notaries do, nor do some 150 of the general notaries.

  • Deeds
  • Estates
  • Powers
  • Affidavits
  • Licenses
  • Contracts
  • Loan Documents
  • Trusts

Foreign Languages

The documents presented to a notary can be in a foreign language. The notary must ensure that both the client and they understand the meaning and effects of the documents. The notaries don’t usually give advice on the meaning and effect of a transaction or a document. It is important that the client shows the notary any advice that he or she has been given by others.


What Identification Does A Notary Public Require?

Following the implementation of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, notaries are now bound to keep sufficient evidence on their files of the identity and the address of all their clients before they undertake any work.

Each person whose signature they are to certify must provide one of the following original identification documents at the time of the appointment.

  • driving license (with photo card)
  • passport
  • firearms license (with photo and signature)
  • other government issue ID (with photo and signature)
  • residence permit
  • national identity card (EEA state members)
  • an armed forces pass (with photo and signature)
  • benefit book or original notification letter from the Benefits Agency

In addition, notaries also require evidence of residence as well, which can be one of the following documents-

  • Bank statement or letter from the bank
  • Inland revenue tax demand or self-assessment statement
  • Utility bill or council tax bill (not mobile phone bill)
  • Tenancy agreement or Housing Association rent card

When a notary public is working for a corporate client, the evidence of the due incorporation of the entity or company is required. This can be one of the following documents:

  • Up to date certified copy of the partnership agreement
  • Extract from the company register
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Latest report and audited accounts
  • Evidence of being regulated by a regulatory body such as the Law Society or FSA.

In addition to the above, each individual signatory will need to produce one of the identification documents mentioned above.

What does it cost?

An early indication of the costs can usually be given in advance but so that we can establish the charges please tell us the following:

  • What service you need – certifying copy documents, witnessing signatures, obtaining Apostille etc
  • The type of documents concerned – for instance, is it a Power of Attorney that you need witnessing
  • Who is signing or presenting the documents – are they company papers or personal papers?
  • Which country they are to go to.
  • How many documents are there?

Rules And Independence

A notary is an independent officer and must not do anything to compromise this. They should not act in matters where they have a personal interest and are subject to professional rules and standards to ensure the protection of their clients. They are also bound to follow the rules on the prevention of money laundering. Notaries must be insured against negligence and dishonesty.

Public Record Kept By A Notary

A notary will keep a full set of the originals or copies of all the official documents that they make. This serves as a permanent public record. They must make these available to all those who have a proper right to see them including their client and any other parties involved in such documents. They also refer to the record to make copies when required.