Notary FAQ – Heald Solicitors
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Terminology and FAQ's

We have collated a few of the questions we are asked the most.  If you can’t find what you are looking for please call one of our notary team who will happily help

What is an 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.


Difference between a Notary Public and a Solicitor?

They are different branches of the legal profession having different qualifications and subject to rules laid down by different governing bodies.  Most Notaries are solicitors but very few solicitors are notaries.


Why does the cost differ between a Solicitor and a Notary Public?

There are a number of reasons but the principally a notary is required to maintain extensive records beyond those maintained by a solicitor.  


Why is it difficult to estimate costs before an appointment?

We do our best to give you an accurate estimate of costs beforehand but it is often difficult without full knowledge and sight of the relevant documents.


What is Authentication?

A notary authenticates documents for foreign authorities by verifying the truth and accuracy of the document itself or the contents.


Can I have Company documents authenticated?

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.


What is 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.  This question ideally should come after what is an Apostille.


What is 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.


What other documents are required? 

Passport: This is the document almost always needed for individual identification.

Proof of Address  utility bill no more than 3 months old with a current address

What information of mine is retained by you?

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.

What is a Notary 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.


Please call  Karen Sleep 01908-355426 to discuss your needs.