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.  See our legal services page for more about the specific legal services we offer. For more about the Notarial profession please click here.

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.  Initially you will be greeted by one of our Notarial assistants and they will first take your original ID from you to make copies for our Notarial records.  They will also ask you for the documentation that you need certified so that the Notary may initially inspect it.  Generally you will have received our Terms and Conditions prior at the time you obtain a quote online.   The Notary will then come to see you and talk through your transaction and its purpose and generally make sure all is in order.  He might at this stage discuss further certification needs such as FCO Apostille and possible Consular legalisation if relevant.  Finally, the Notary will leave you in order to prepare the certification as necessary via Notarial Certificate, for example.  The Notarial assistant will then return to you to take payment and to return your completed certification (or we may hold onto the document if we need to carry out additional processing).  We will also provide you with a Client Feedback Form to complete if you have any comments on our service.

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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