Aren't Notaries just witnesses not lawyers?

A Notary in England & Wales is a qualified lawyer.  Notaries are trained to provide a legal service that involves understanding issues relating to private international law and English law generally.  Signing a document in England which is to have effect in Poland, a Pełnomocnictwo for example, will need the Notary to be aware of the relevant execution principles that apply to the signatory (a real person or a legal person such as a limited company) to effectively bind the person so that the pertinent document can be relied upon in the foreign jurisdiction.  The Notary is qualified to carry out reserved activities in English law in addition to Notarial work including administer probate and conveyancing as well as other non-contentious legal work. For more about the Notarial profession please click here.

Why does it matter which notary handles my data?

Notaries in England and Wales are bound by rules that oblige them to retain copies of very personal, business confidential and sometimes sensitive data. Notaries must keep certification records for at least 12 years or, in some cases, forever. Many notaries are "lone wolves" and whilst most will look to take reasonable precautions over the security of data, it is extremely difficult without specialist information security experience to do given the relative risks being managed i.e. passports copies, bank statements, proofs of address, and in some cases full copies of all certified documents.

Whilst no firm can 'guarantee' data security, there are things to look out for such as: does the firm hold any independently assessed information security accreditations such as Cyber Essentials Plus, ISO27001 or IASME Gold (audited)? Does the firm's privacy policy describe how your data is secured? Is the notary using his 'personal' computer to hold your (or your client's) confidential data? and where is the notary backing this data up? Does the firm use practices to reduce privacy risk such as data minimisation and data retention limits?

If you are a regular user of notary services it may be worthwhile vetting the security processes via a basic vendor security assessment and a data privacy questionnaire to assess the risk in using the notary services supplier.

M K Soni Notaries holds 'IASME Governance - Gold' accreditation (the highest) of the fully-audited information security standard. The business is also is Cyber Essentials certified..

What Identification documents are needed for an appointment?

We will generally need to see your original Passport (or a national ID card or UK photographic driving licence with counterpart) and an original recent or current proof of address (such as an original bank / credit card statement or utility bill).  For more specific requirements please chat online to a bookings consultant or visit our Contact Us page to contact us another way.

What should I expect from my appointment and how long will it take?

With the current pandemic, appointment times are taking necessarily longer due to extra precautions taken both during and between appointments. You should allow at least 45 minutes to an hour for your appointment.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document that once you have executed it confers power onto another person or persons to act on your - or your company's - behalf.  An act carried out by virtue of authority given by such a document would be legally binding on you (or your company).  Powers of Attorney are utilised for a wide variety of reasons such as the purchase / sale of property, managing bank accounts and management of a company.

In England, execution of such documents are governed primarily by the Powers of Attorney 1971 and, in the case of companies, the Companies Act 2006.  Execution and effect of a Power of Attorney are not the same thing.  If you are signing a Power of Attorney for a English company, for example, generally you would need to comply with English law in terms of execution though the contents would be subject to the law in the destination country.

In certain cases we may be able to draft a Power of Attorney for you.  In other cases we will liaise directly, or through you, with foreign lawyers to adapt the Power of Attorney to ensure it meets the necessary legal objectives. 

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