1. Each notarial matter is different, and the requirements and timescales will vary according to whether the client is a private individual or a company, and according to the processing times of third parties such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, legalisation agents, translating agencies, couriers and foreign lawyers with whom I may have to liaise.
2. Some documents require legalisation before they will be accepted for use in the receiving jurisdiction, by obtaining an apostille through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and, for some countries, additional legalisation is required through the relevant embassy or consulate.
3. Some typical key stages of the matter are likely to include:
- Receiving and reviewing the documents to be notarised, together with any instructions you may have received;
- Liaising with your legal advisors or other bodies to obtain the necessary documentation to deal with the document (e.g. information from Companies House or foreign registries, powers of attorney etc)
- Checking the identity, capacity and authority of the person who is to sign the document
- If a document is to be certified, checking with the issuing authorities that the document/award is genuine. In the case of academic awards, this would entail checking with the appropriate academic institutions
- Meeting with the signatory to verify their identity and to ascertain that they understand what they are signing and that they are doing so of their own free will and ensuring that the document is executed correctly
- Drafting and affixing or endorsing a notarial certificate to the document
- Arranging for the legalisation of the document as appropriate
- Arranging for the storage of copies of all notarised documents in accordance with the requirements of the Notarial Practice Rules 2019.
4. Unless I am away on holiday, I can usually arrange an appointment for you to see me within three working days.
5. If I am required to certify or attest your signature or certify a copy document, it can usually be done at the first appointment, when payment of my fee will be expected.
6. If legalisation of a degree certificate is required, my practice is usually to obtain verification of the degree, either from the awarding University or from HEDD.ac.uk. The time this takes depends on the response time of the University or HEDD.
7. If I am required to draft a document, such as an affidavit or change of name deed, I should usually be able to prepare a draft of the document within five working days of receipt of all of the required information.
8. If legalisation is required, an apostille can usually be obtained from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office within five working days.
9. If consular legalisation is required (usually after an apostille) it will take a further period of time after the apostille is obtained, which will depend on how quickly the relevant consulate takes to deal with the document. I will advise you of the likely timescale in each case.