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How Does a Notary Service work?

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How Does a Notary Service work?

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Notaries form the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in England and Wales. Despite this, the role they play and the services they provide remain relatively unknown to many in this country

However, due to London’s position as a major global trading centre, for many firms in the capital the services of a notary are invaluable when conducting business around the world. Calling upon the services of a London notary public will be a regular occurrence for Company Secretarial and legal departments of companies with international interests.

The notary’s role is to make certifications of fact and law so that they may be relied upon by others. As opposed to Solicitors whose primary duty is to their client, the notary’s primary duty is to the transaction itself. In the vast majority of cases, it will be a party overseas who is the ultimate recipient of the notary’s certification. In the case of Scrivener Notaries – a specialist, linguistically trained, branch of the profession providing notarial services in London – the notarial certification will often be issued directly in the language of the country in which it is to be used.

The form the notary’s certification takes will depend on the requirements of the receiving jurisdiction. The most common form of “notarisation” requires the Notary to certify the signature, and where appropriate also the capacity and authority of one or more parties to a legal document.


Where a London notary public is required to certify signatures, the signatories will usually need to appear before the notary in person. The signatories will also need to identify themselves to the notary by production of a valid passport, national identity document or other acceptable proof of identity. In addition the notary will also need to see proof of the signatories’ residential address such as a recently issued bank statement, utility bill or council tax bill. It’s advisable to clarify what proof of identity and address will be acceptable to the notary before booking an appointment.

The notary may also need to ascertain that the signatories appearing before him have the necessary capacity and authority to act, particularly where they are representing a company or other legal entity. In such circumstances the notary will be able to advise what further documentation is required.


The certification of signatures is not the only type of attestation that an individual or company might require from a provider of notarial services in London. Notaries are often called upon to certify the authenticity of documents such as academic qualifications or copies of corporate documents held on file by the UK Commercial Registry – Companies House. These services can often be provided remotely through email correspondence.

In addition a London notary public may often be called upon to provide certified translations of legal and commercial documents or arrange legalisation by “Apostille” or at the Consulate or Diplomatic Mission of the country where the document is to be used. Again, it will often be possible for this to be arranged without the need for a meeting between the client and notary.

Article supplied by De Pinna Notaries & Translators

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