Two of our solicitors are qualified Notaries and are able to assist you with the full range of Notarial Services.

The reason a person needs to visit a Notary is to prepare or certify a document that can be used in another country in a form that will be acceptable to the courts and other authorities in that country. A person who visits a Notary is described as the “Appearer”.

The arrangement for the provision of Notarial Services is made between the Appearer and the individual Notary. The Notary acts independently of Parker Arrenberg.  The work the Notary does is treated as part of the Solicitor’s practice for insurance purposes but for no other purpose.

If you need to see a Notary please telephone us on 020 8695 2330 for an appointment


What is a Notary?

A Notary is a lawyer and a member of the oldest legal profession in England and Wales.  He holds an internationally recognised public office.  Very often, as with both Mr Mahony and Mr Arrenberg, they are also experienced solicitors.  Notaries are appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.  In addition to the normal qualifying process that all solicitors have to undergo, Notaries also have to pass examinations in areas relevant to their work including International Law. 

Each Notary is identified by his or her unique seal, and a document which a Notary signs and seals will be acceptable in other countries of the world as genuine.  Some countries also require that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK and/or their own consulate or embassy certifies that the Notary’s signature and seal is genuine.  If this is the case (see ‘Legalisation’) we will advise you and can make the necessary arrangements.

Notaries do work for commercial firms engaged in international trade and for private individuals who have dealing in other countries.


The Notary’s Role

A Notary’s responsibilities can be summarised as follows:

  • • Checking that you are who you claim to be;
  • • Making sure that you have the right authority to sign any documents that requires your signature;
  • • Ensuring that you understand the nature of any commitment you are taking on; and
  • • Making sure that all the formal requirements are properly carried out


Not a mere rubber stamping exercise

The international duty of a Notary involves a high standard of care. This is not only towards the Appearer but also to anyone who may rely on the document and to Governments or officials of other countries.


Advice on the Document

When you bring a document to the Notary for authorisation he will advise as to the formalities required for completing it. However, he will not be attempting to advise you about the transaction itself, and you must seek such advice from your own lawyers or persons asking you to have the document signed before the Notary.


Foreign Languages

The Notary must be sure that you and he understand any document you are to sign. He cannot simply take your word for it. He may have to insist that it is properly translated into English or that a qualified interpreter is present at your interview. He may need both. You will have to pay for these extra services. The cost will, inevitably, vary according to the length and complexity of the document and the language involved. If you have lawyers acting for you in the country where the document is to be used they may be able to provide a certified English translation as well.


How long will it take?

If the document is straightforward, already prepared and in the correct form the Notary is likely to need to see you for a minimum of 15-20 minutes and complete it in half an hour. Obviously it takes longer if the document is not straightforward, or the Notary has to draw up the document or make a proper copy.  In some cases more than one visit will be required.

Many countries want documents to be countersigned by their London Embassies (Legalisation) and this will take time unless you want to take them to the Embassy in person and wait in line.  The Notary will be able to give you an estimate of the time it will take to have your documents legalised if that is necessary.


Notarial Records

When the Notary carries out his work he is required to make an entry in a formal register, which is kept by him as a permanent record. He will often retain a copy of the notarised documentation with that record.  In the case of “Public” documents he will keep a copy bearing your original signature on it so that he can issue further certified copies if required to do so.  He can be required to deal with queries from e.g. foreign lawyers, Land Registrars or Embassies to confirm the fact that you saw him and signed the document.


Data Protection    

Personal data may be used and disclosed by the Notary to third parties in the course of providing services to the Appearer and for regulatory purposes.



The Notary will use e-mail where this is convenient. Where an Appearer has provided an e-mail address, e.g., by sending the Notary an e-mail, the Notary will assume that he may use that address for the sending of unencrypted sensitive or confidential correspondence or documents to the Appearer. The Notary may also, during the course of a matter, send unencrypted sensitive or confidential information to other persons involved, unless specifically requested by them or the Appearer not to do so.



English law is the applicable law to the provision of these Notarial Services and the English courts shall have sole jurisdiction in the case of any dispute.



We can arrange for documents that have to be used abroad to be legalised for you.


What is Legalisation?

Legalisation is the process by which the signature and seal of the Notary are authenticated by the Foreign Office and a Foreign Embassy.

Documents going to countries which are, or have been, part of the British Commonwealth do not usually need legalisation nor, at present, do documents going to most parts of the United States. Other countries usually do.

Most countries accept only one certificate from the Foreign Office called an Apostile.  Some countries want an Apostile and a certificate from their own Embassy. There are other procedures that only apply to a few countries, and there can be problems if a document is to be used in a country with which the United Kingdom does not have diplomatic relations. The Notary may not be able to tell you in advance what legalisation will cost, but fees can be high for some commercial documents.  The fees charged by foreign Embassies vary widely and can cost a few pounds or as much as £400.


What is involved?

The process of legalisation usually involves attending at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and, for most non-European and non English speaking countries, one or two visits to the Embassy or High Commission of the country the document(s) is to be used in. We have agents that visit the FCO and embassies every day and so can arrange this for you if you wish.

It is possible, if you need a document quickly, to take it yourself to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Milton Keynes. Similarly it is possible to take them to the relevant Embassy in person and wait in line.  The Notary will be able to give you an estimate of the time it will take to have your documents legalised if it is necessary and you wish us to make the arrangements for you.