Apart from being a Solicitor and Partner with Allan Janes, Peter Collier also practises separately as a Notary Public at our offices in High Wycombe.
Peter has a Master’s degree in Advanced Commercial Property Law from the University of Northumbria and completed the Post-Graduate Notarial Practice Course at UCL.
What are the functions of a Notary?
Notaries Public in England and Wales are relied on by overseas countries to provide certainty with regard to the authentication of documentation for use abroad.
Notaries are the oldest branch of the legal profession in England and Wales. (Historical accounts record a Papal Notary visiting this country as far back as the fourteenth century). The Archbishop of Canterbury appointed Notaries on Papal authority until 1533, after which appointments were made by the Archbishop with the authority of Parliament.
Notaries are often also qualified as solicitors, but must undergo further qualification in Roman Law, Private International Law and Notarial Practice to qualify separately as a Notary Public.
Notaries may be asked to deal with documentation from any country in the world and a Notary’s training is designed to allow a Notary to establish swiftly the issues to be addressed, and to ensure the speed and success of any transaction which they are dealing with.
A Notary is required to keep a copy of all notarised documentation for a minimum period of 12 years, and with notarial acts in public form, permanently. When a Notary retires or dies, all records must be passed to another Notary for storage.
Overseas legal jurisdictions generally either have a system of civil law (for example France, Germany and Spain) or a common law system similar to that in England and Wales. A Notary is trained to understand the differences between these different legal systems.
A Notary’s duty is to the transaction, rather than to the party who is responsible for the Notary’s fee. (A Notary’s function has been likened to being between that of a Registrar of births, marriages and deaths, and a Judge). A Notary is required to deal with any transaction required, save in circumstances where fraud or violence is involved, where a Notary is prohibited from acting.
Peter Collier is a member of The Notaries Society, which represents most of the approximately 760 Notaries who practise in England and Wales.
What legal work does a Notary carry out?
Examples of the types of work dealt with for business clients are set out below:-
- Overseas agents – powers of attorney
- Certificate of Corporate Goodstanding
- Assistance with the incorporation of overseas companies
- Overseas tenders
- Academic certification
- Passport certification
- Affidavits, Oaths and Statutory Declarations
- Bills of Exchange protests
- Depositions in overseas litigation
Notaries are often required to deal with matters at short notice, and within a very limited timescale. Peter Collier aims to carry out all matters as soon as possible (where documentation is straightforward and does not require amendment, or discussion with lawyers overseas).
What is meant by ‘legalisation’?
The legalisation process confirms that the signature and seal of a Notary Public are authenticated by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. A limited number of overseas countries also require their UK Consulate or High Commission to provide additional authentication for documentation. In those cases, the process will take longer to complete, and a separate fee will be payable to the Consulate or High Commission involved. Such fees can be high.
After your documentation has been notarised, it would be possible for you to deal with the legalisation process yourself, however, this can be complicated, and Peter Collier would be pleased to assist you with that process, should you wish.
What is an Apostille?
In the majority of cases, legalisation to satisfy overseas countries will only require a certificate called an Apostille from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and which confirms to the overseas authority that the signature and seal of the Notary Public are authentic. (The provision of an Apostille alone will satisfy the authentication requirements of most Commonwealth countries, the USA and all its States, and all European countries).
For private clients, the Foreign Office in Milton Keynes charges a fee of £30.00 for this service and usually takes some 3-4 days to deal with documentation. For urgent matters, business clients may use the Foreign & Commonwealth London office, who charge £75.00 and turn documents round on the same day if they are submitted by 2.30pm.
How will your Notarial business be dealt with?
If you are an employee of a business or require a personal matter to be dealt with, it is essential that you have a meeting with Peter Collier, either at this office, or at your own premises should that be more convenient for you. Prior to that meeting, you should provide the following documentation (preferably by email)
- Any documentation which you have received from the overseas jurisdiction.
- Full details of the transaction for which the documentation to be notarised is required.
- Contact details for the overseas lawyer involved.
- Full particulars of your business or personal details.
What should you bring to your meeting?
To ensure that your meeting deals with the documentation on the same day (should that be possible) you should bring with you:-
- The original documentation which you have received (not copies).
- Your original identification documentation (see Terms of Business for full list).
- If you are an overseas company (i.e. incorporated outside the UK) a Certificate of Incorporation, or Certificate of Good Standing, provided by a lawyer in the jurisdiction in which your Company is incorporated.
- For business transactions, the original of your Company’s board minute giving authorisation (not a copy).
As a Notary Public, Peter Collier is a senior commercial lawyer and charges a commensurate rate for the work which he carries out. He will usually be able to provide you with a fixed fee in advance of seeing you, however, that may not be possible in circumstances where the work is complex and, in those circumstances he will provide you with an estimate of his charges.
The minimum charge is £80.00
No VAT is payable upon fees, however, this will be collected upon any disbursements (payments to others) which attract VAT.
Work is carried out on a time basis and the charge will cover the following:-
- Correspondence by email and/or letter
- Travel and waiting time
- Time in meetings
- Time taken to make up a record of the notarial transaction
In addition to fees for carrying out work on your behalf, charges will be made for some, or all, of the following:-
- Courier fees
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office and overseas consular fees
- Agency fees
- Companies House fees
Invoices are payable in full before release of documentation.