What is a notary public?
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A notary public is a qualified lawyer, but, unlike barristers or solicitors, you might be unfamiliar with the work they do. This is because the main role of a notary is to ensure English documentation is signed and complies with overseas regulations. Of course, a significant percentage of people will never require the services of a notary, but those conducting business overseas regularly turn to this branch of the legal profession to help them with certification or notarisation. This can include the notary acting as a witness or verifying any facts given about the person or entity the documents relate to.
Overseas, notaries are used to execute documents for a variety of legal and financial transactions, including when selling a property or finalising the sale of company shares. Although a notary is not required for most property or business deals in England, when a transaction involves the participation of another country’s legal system, the notary acts as a bridge between the two systems, ensuring everything is as it should be. Foreign authorities rely on the services of UK notaries, as they have no other way to ascertain the authenticity of certain key information, other than through notarial certification.
A day in the life of a notary public
The tasks carried out by a notary will depend on the client, but common actions undertaken include: the overseas handling of conveyancing deals, the provision of documents which outline the administration of overseas estates, the preparation and witnessing of Powers of Attorney overseas, and the authentication of identification (signatures, passports etc.) for a range of reasons, including immigration, business transactions and property purchases. Notaries public can also have a say on whether a person is of sound mental capacity to sign a binding legal document.
How are notaries regulated?
The Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury appoints all notaries public and the regulatory body for this profession is the Master of the Faculties. Notaries, like solicitors, must: obtain full insurance cover; keep their clients’ money away from their own; undergo checks to ensure they are maintaining expected standards; and have up-to-date certificates to ensure they are complying with the rules.
London is one of the world’s leading financial centres, and every day we at South London Notaries verify clients’ identification and documentation to ensure their business dealings in Europe, and further afield, progress smoothly.
If you’d like to enlist the services of a notary public in London, or you’re curious as to how we can help you out, see our notarial services or give us a call on 020 7268 4871.