Apostille: An apostille is a certificate affixed to a document. It is a specific form of legalisation in accordance with the Hague Convention 1961. In the UK this is done by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Companies: Authentication of company documents can require detailed and complex investigations. It may be necessary for the Notary to establish for himself that the company has been lawfully incorporated, that it has the powers to carry out the proposed transaction and that the company has authorised the officers or other individuals to sign on its behalf. Company searches may be required in support or as proof of certain corporate acts. These are obtained direct from Companies House by the Notary. Sufficient time should be allowed to enable the Notary to obtain these.
Legalisation: Legalisation is the authentication of a signature of a Notary or Solicitor by a consular or diplomatic authority. It is therefore less comprehensive than notarisation and never implies acceptance or approval of any words, statements, certificate or other document preceding the legalised signature. Legalisation and notarisation requirements are dictated by detailed evidence rules of receiving jurisdictions and can vary according to the context of the transaction, e.g. affidavits for litigation, land registration, filing of patents and trademarks, company registration, tendering.
Notarisation: Really an American term for “Notarially certify”. Notarisation is the notarial act performed by the Notary. Although there is no precise definition of the notarial act it can be described as an instrument recording the due execution of a deed, contract or other writing or verifying some fact or thing done. Its fundamental purpose is to provide evidence or communicate information or authority, or both. It is necessary both for accessibility and permanence that the act must be or must be recorded in the physical form of a document.
Passport: This is the document almost always needed for individual identification.
Protest: Form of certificate used by the Notary to record dishonour of bill of exchange.
Records: Notaries must keep extensive records (but not necessarily full copies) of all their certificates and annexed documents, in some cases permanently. These are all private records available only to clients and only otherwise disclosable if required by law.
Reliance: The essence of notarising is that third parties will in most circumstances rely on what the Notary certifies. This is one reason that notarisations must be read and interpreted as legal documents to know their full and proper meaning.
Seal: Every Notary has his own die-cast or embossed seal, usually containing a unique design or crest, the words “Notary Public” and his place of practice.