I’m often asked what is a Notary Public – along with what is the difference between a Notary and a Solicitor?
A Notary Public is a qualified, internationally recognised lawyer. It’s the oldest legal profession in the country, with roots dating back to 1533, when Henry VIII split from the Church of Rome. Even now, Notaries practise under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
While the history may conjure images of Wolf Hall and ermine-trimmed robes, in actual fact, the services offered by a Notary Public are highly relevant in our modern, connected world. Anyone doing business abroad, or buying or selling property overseas, can rely on a UK Notary to provide documentation that will be recognised in the foreign country quickly and at reasonable cost.
As the Notary Public at Hamers Solicitors, serving clients around Hull, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, I can prepare, witness or certify documents going abroad, including powers of attorney, sworn statements, contracts, property papers and certificates of law. For commercial clients, documents witnessed by Notaries have been recognised and accepted throughout the world.
Most people come into contact with a Notary when they are buying a property abroad. Many jurisdictions require the buyers and sellers to be personally present to complete the transfer of the property, and so I am often asked to deal with Powers of Attorney allowing the client to appoint their own lawyer in the foreign country to represent them during the transaction.
Another common document I am asked to deal with is a child’s consent to travel, where one parent authorises the other, or a grandparent, to accompany a child on a foreign trip. Most jurisdictions require such documents to be attested or witnessed by a Notary. I have also prepared documents for people marrying abroad. Many people from the Hull area choose to get married in Cyprus, for example.
Most of the 800 or so Notary Publics in England are also Solicitors who undertake further training and exams, as well as a period of supervision by an experienced Notary. The authority to practise as a Notary is given by the Church of England’s Court of Faculties, by way of a “Faculty” – a hand-written parchment document signed under the seal of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Notary then takes the oath of allegiance to the Monarch.
If you are doing business abroad, buying or selling property overseas, or need advice about travelling with a child, I’m here to help.
Stephen Walker is a Senior Solicitor specialising in wills and probate, and Notary Public, at Hamers Solicitors.
14 December, 2020
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