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Overview of our Notary Services

Partner, Charles Neal, is a Notary based in Sheffield and one of only a small handful of Notaries in the UK. He is qualified to prepare, witness or certify documents that need to be used abroad. Often a document will have been prepared by a foreign lawyer, and might include powers of attorney, sworn statements, contracts or property papers.

A Notary is a qualified lawyer who has gained a distinct set of additional qualifications that enables them to authenticate and certify signatures, authority and capacity relating to documents for use abroad. Notaries form a small, highly specialised branch of the legal profession and their role quite distinct from that of a solicitor or a barrister. 

Notaries must verify for each client their identity, legal capacity and understanding of the document, as well as their authority if signing on behalf of another party, such as a limited company.

The Notary’s Certificate is generally accepted as proof without need for further evidence of an act or as authentication of a document. A Notary therefore has a duty, not only to clients, but also to the receiving jurisdiction and other parties that may be involved in any legal transaction.  On occasion, it may be necessary for obtain proof of the authority of the Notary to act.

It is often a requirement of a receiving jurisdiction that a Notary’s signature is itself authenticated by the country receiving the document. There are two methods for doing this; Legalisation or the Apostille process.

Legalisation

The legalisation process whereby the Embassy of the receiving jurisdiction either in London or if there is no such Embassy in a neighbouring European country certify that the Notary is properly registered and has authority to grant the authenticating certificate that is being considered. This requires the Notary to be registered with the Embassy in question and often requires the authority of the Notary to be first confirmed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Apostille

In the 1960’s a more streamlined process was introduced whereby the home state authority adds their own certificate (called an Apostille). Countries which are signatories to the International Convention should accept the certificate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This is a more straight-forward and streamlined method.

Whichever system is needed, we can assist, advise and undertake the work necessary to obtain legalisation or Apostille. Please note that this process can take time and whilst there are, in some cases, the options for speeding up the process this usually involves personal appearance at an Embassy, Consulate or the Foreign Commonwealth Office and invariably involves additional charges.

What our clients say
  • "As always, a very good service in a complex matter."

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  • "I saw the Notary Public. It was a very small and simple job and was executed efficiently."

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  • "Very impressed that Charles Neal was able to deal with our notary requirements at such short notice."

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  • "We used Belll & Buxton for the Notary, Charles Neal. He was very efficient and informative."

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  • "Excellent service - beyond my expectations."

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