Thinking of Working in Qatar? Already working in Qatar? – then this is a must read…Louise Morley Explains

Thinking of Working in Qatar? Already working in Qatar? – then this is a must read…Louise Morley Explains

Qatar has very strict guidance on legalising Educational certificates. Legalisation is a necessary step to be taken before your qualifications will be accepted in Qatar.

Dealing with educational certificates for use in Qatar is a three step process:

1. Notarisation – First it is necessary for your Notary to Notarise your original or a copy of your certificates as GENUINE as he has verified. In order to verify, this means that we need to confirm with the educational institution(s) named in your certificate/s that they are indeed genuine. Each University or School has its own process of dealing with verification enquiries which we must follow. We are aware of the requirements of most of them.

2. Foreign Office Apostille – Once the verification has been received by us we can Notarise and then the certificate(s) need to be sent to the Foreign Office for an Apostille stamp [this stamp confirms that Mr Atkinson really has signed the paper and that he is a qualified Notary in England with the necessary professional insurance].

3. Qatar Consular Legalisation. Finally the most complicated step! – Now to obtain the Qatar Government stamp or stamps.

The Embassy has recently announced that all education certificates in the form of:-
Degrees, Diplomas, BA/BSc, M.A and PhDs issued by schools outside the State of Qatar which are submitted for stamping after Notarisation and Apostilles have been obtained, must be supported by the two items listed below:

1. Supported Transcript or equivalent. This is the written statement which your educational provider will have given you with your Degree, giving more details of the subjects covered and the exam standards attained.

2. A covering letter from the issuing educational provider which MUST confirm the following six bullet points:
• The qualification/certificate authenticity
• The mode of study and the type of study: whether full time/part time or distance learning (e-Learning)
• The place of study and the place of the examinations held
• The awarded title of the issued Degree etc
• The duration of the course studied
• The actual dates of study (start date and end date)

Also please note that for each of the two additional items above, they too must be Notarised and then attested by the Apostille, in the same way as the actual Degree/Primary qualification certificate.

Qatar also states that any certificate issued via distance learning or an online program will NOT be accepted for attesting as this is not in line with the rules of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Doha.

So to summarise, – for each Degree or Diploma certificate you require attesting – it needs to be accompanied by the corresponding transcript or equivalent and also a covering letter issued from the educational institution confirming the 6 bullet points above. Qatar will not legalise without all the documentation being present and they may even still ask for more if they are not satisfied.

Our advice is that if you are planning on working in Qatar then the documentation you submit to prove your required qualification should be kept to the necessary minimum. Remember, each Degree Certificate/Diploma etc needs to be accompanied by the Transcript/or equivalent and cover letter from Educational institution – and as such each document needs to be Apostilled and the Foreign Office fee for every Apostille is £30.

We have recently also heard from one of our fellow Notary colleagues that if you are intending to work in Qatar long-term or are currently working in Qatar and intending to stay, that this documentation needs to be submitted annually – that is, yes, do it all again every year!

However please note that after we have carried out this process for you once, then to submit annually should pretty much be straight forward since we do keep full records of all Notarisation and verifications we carry out and we also keep clean scans of any certificates which we Notarise and legalise – which means that if we have verified your certificate once then there is no need for us to verify every year – the answer will be same! So it should simply be a case of printing the clean scans then Notarising as genuine again with the new date and then submit for steps 2 and 3. However, we do presume that an updated verification letter from the school will also be required annually.

A further point to note is that the position is fluid, the Qatar rules are new and already there have been several changes.

There are fees to pay for the Qatari legalisation stamps and we have not printed them in this Blog because they are changing so regularly that if you read this in a few weeks’ time, anything we quote today will likely be out of date.

I have tried to keep this Blog as straightforward as possible – but as you can see it is not straightforward to submit English academic documents for use in Qatar and I am very happy to assist if you are currently working in Qatar or are planning to. Get in touch and we will explain how matters stand up to date.

Contact us to discuss and/or book your appointment with us, at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or]

Life Sentences for Dangerous Drivers Who Kill. What Do You Think?

Life Sentences for Dangerous Drivers Who Kill. What Do You Think?

Welcome to my first Blog of 2017.

News this week of plans of the Ministry of Justice for the maximum prison sentence available to Judges for the offences of causing death by dangerous driving and of causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs.

At present the maximum sentence for both offences is fourteen years jail time.

The proposal is a new maximum of life imprisonment.

Link here

As the government website says, in 2015 at least 143 deaths were caused by dangerous driving, or by careless driving by drinker/drug users.

Notwithstanding that the maximum sentence for these drivers was 14 years as stated, in fact the average prison sentence imposed was under 4 years. No doubt several of those sentences were suspended.

The express hope of the Ministry is that a much increased maximum will filter through to the mind-set of Judges, tending to an increase in that 4 year average sentence.

You may have an opinion: if so, you can take part in an online “consultation” – link here.

My take on this [it’s hardly as thought out as to be actually an opinion] is that death on the road is such an emotive tragedy that few people, if any, can take an objective view.  For example, it is rare that the family of the driver will agree with the family of the deceased about sentencing.

And I also fail to understand the legal significance of death being involved as an element of the sentence. Or indeed, of the need for the offences at all. If the death was actually intended, surely the charge should be murder?

Or, if the driving was such that its consequences could include death as any reasonable person would realise, then the element of recklessness would justify a charge of manslaughter?

And tell me, if a dangerous driver, or a drunk/drugged careless one is lucky enough not to cause a death – why is that relevant? If nobody died this time, they might next time, so why on earth not impose the life sentence now?

All a bit grim for a New Year blog.

To lighten the mood, here are a few road traffic reports this century culled from the media by my fellow Notary Dr John Kirkwood.

2016 Wenzhou China. Police stopped Mr Wu while he was driving. He was attached to a medical intravenous drip system and talking on his mobile at the same time. In his defence he said he was good at multitasking.

2006 England. Mr Omed Aziz stopped by traffic police in the Midlands for dangerous driving. On being asked to remove his dark glasses the police discovered he had no eyes. Link here. [And a more deserving candidate for a life imprisonment sentence could hardly be imagined? No need for someone to die before potting him I would have thought?]

2004 Australia. Mr Collinson prosecuted for driving without a licence. His defence was “necessity”. There was, he said, an urgent need to deliver condoms to his cousin. Too much information?

2005 England. Sarah McCaffery convicted and fined £60 for driving round a bend with an apple in her hand. 10 Court hearings, evidence from a police spotter plane and helicopter and video from a police car. Total cost to secure a conviction – £10,000.00. Well, yes, that’s what the papers said – typical link here. Although this case resulted in questions in the House of Lords where the costs of the helicopter element were stated to be a somewhat more modest £425. Link here.

2010 Scotland. Michael Mancini stationary in traffic, car in neutral and handbrake on. Pulled out a tissue to blow his nose. Signalled into a parking bay by PC Gray who said he was failing to control his vehicle. Fined £60 and licence endorsed. Link here [case was eventually dropped after appeal]

2013 Scotland. Ronald Gell claimed he had not been driving under the influence since his dog was driving. Link here

Mr Tichenor – Defence – driving 112 mph to attend court to pay a speeding fine. Link here.

I suspect the last two gentlemen were not taking the police, or their own predicaments, too seriously.

Only one song suggests itself, link here

Here at AtkinsonNotary, we don’t deal with motoring cases [we can put you in touch with Solicitors who do, of course.] But when you need your papers properly presented for use abroad, book your appointment with us, at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or] where we shall be more than happy to assist.

Happy New Year to you.

Ruined Holidays Abroad. Children Crying. Thousands of Pounds Wasted. Don’t Let It Happen To You.

Ruined Holidays Abroad. Children crying. Thousands of pounds wasted. Don’t let it happen to you.

Last Christmas, the chief executive of South Africa Tourism Services Association announced that between ten and twenty people on every single international booked flight inward to SA, had been denied access to the aeroplane because a child was travelling without both parents, and without a signed notarised consent from the non-travelling parent/s.

Ten to Twenty expensive tickets, wasted. ON EVERY PLANE. Family reunions, perhaps they would have been once in a lifetime, not happening. At Christmas. The futility and misery is hard to imagine really.

I have mentioned previously the requirements of many Countries around the world, regarding children travelling internationally.

Particularly when a child is travelling alone or with only one adult, the concern is that there may be a kidnap happening. So you will get asked to prove that the non-travelling parent knows and agrees to the journey.

If you are not carrying a notarised consent, the easiest thing for the airline or border guard is to refuse access.

It is happening more and more.

Many other countries have no fixed wording required, but increasingly children are being refused boarding passes onto flights, or entry to foreign countries, or indeed return to UK after a foreign holiday, if the flight attendants or border guards are not certain that both parents of a child have given consent to the child’s journey.

I am writing about this again, first because the Christmas holidays are a time for family travelling, and also because of a notification I have received yesterday from a fellow notary.

This is real. And it is another Christmas ruined for a whole family.

He writes:-
I have just seen a couple who went to Heathrow, last night, for mother and child to board an Air France flight to Chile. They were not allowed to board the plane because the Chilean government now requires a notarised consent from the non-travelling parent. The airline would not accept a consent that the father wrote out, there and then, insisting that it must be notarised.
I am often asked by parents whether a Consent to Travel is needed and I have not been able to be definite for most countries. My cautionary tale above should be sufficient to persuade most parents that a notarised Consent ought to be taken when both parents are not accompanying the child.

He is Bernard Cordell – Notary Public of Flat 3, 3 Tasker Road, London NW3 2YR – 44 (0)20 7209 4138

You may find many references on the internet to the problems of lack of parental consent to travel.

In particular in relation to the various articles written by English journalists, you will find reference to consents being prepared and countersigned by Solicitors.

Please do be very careful. This is probably because English journalists have rarely heard of Notaries.

However, around the world the reverse is true. Countries around the world all have Notaries, and they are well aware of Notaries. On the other hand, very few have ever heard of Solicitors, and those that have are aware that Solicitors are creatures of the British Legal system.

Accordingly of course Solicitors have no status in their country and a form of consent which is countersigned by a Solicitor may be as useless as none at all.

If your child is travelling this Christmas with one parent only, or with grandparents or friends, get in touch now.

And if both you and your spouse are travelling together with a child, you are not immune from suspicion.

So, these days it is very important that when you fly you take a full birth certificate of each travelling child. Then you can prove that you really are the parents. After all, a successful kidnapper is unlikely to travel without an accomplice.

So here is the song – link here  He’s gone two thousand miles
It’s very far
The snow is falling down
Gets colder day by day
I miss you
The children will sing
He’ll be back at Christmas time

Louise and I are dealing with consents to travel all the time. And ALL of our clients have been allowed onto their planes. Hooray. Book your appointment with us, at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or] where we shall be more than happy to assist.

Happy Christmas.

Don’t Let The Crooks Steal Your House. Some Practical Advice.

Don’t Let The Crooks Steal Your House. Some Practical Advice.

In two of my recent blogs – links here  and here – I have referred to a new criminal growth industry in England – the theft of houses.

There was another reported attempt last week, see this link. A chap was asked by his daughter – “Why didn’t you tell me you are moving house”. She had been looking at an Estate Agency website and thought – That’s my Dad’s house.

And indeed it was Dad’s house, going up for auction!

Not that Dad knew anything about it.

As I have said earlier, this crime has been made so much easier to commit by the fact that since 2003 in England and Wales, title deeds have been abolished.

It is not nearly so hard for thieves to steal your identity and change “virtual Deeds”, as it used to be for them to get their hands on your actual bundle of title deeds written on parchment.

The best way to protect yourself from attacks of this sort, is to establish a link now with the Land Registry.

Once you have done that, the Registry will send you an email every time anyone interacts with your “Title” – Every time anyone makes a search, or downloads your registered title, or seeks to register a change of name or a caution or a mortgage, you will be emailed instantly. This gives you a much better chance of thwarting a criminal before any damage can be done.

So really, what are you waiting for?, do it today.

I have done it just now for my own house and the process took ten minutes, including making a coffee. It was extremely easy and I cannot think of any reason why everyone should not do it straight away.

Here’s how- Go to the Land Registry Website and find your title number [or you may know it if your Solicitors gave you a copy of your registers when you first bought the place]. Link here

Then go to the Land Registry “Property Alert Service” Link here and register yourself and your house on the Alert Service. All done.

So now we have protected our homes, let’s all sing a happy song. Or failing that, this one.

As ever, do contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or] where we shall be more than happy to assist whenever you have paperwork to be processed for foreign countries.

What A Drag It Is, Getting Old.

What A Drag It Is, Getting Old.

The words of course are from “Mother’s Little Helper”, written when the Rolling Stones themselves were young. And the Helper in question was prescription medication. But the sentiment is as true now as it ever was.

One more quote

“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”― Andy Rooney

Apart from anything else – getting old creates practical problems, not least mobility and shopping.

According to a Mental Health Charity report this week, link here there are millions of people who have been trusted with Bank cards [and their PINs] by the people they care for.

Often these are people who are not suffering from any mental illness, but who cannot get out and about, and who cannot deal with their own Banks.

BUT, Banks require to deal with their customers direct. They will not talk to neighbours or helpful friends of their account holders and this is understandable. I am sure that, if you are a healthy young person in your prime of life the idea of your Bank sharing your private details with a third party would be horrifying.

But if you are deaf so you can’t use the phone, and too frail to go to the Bank, what to do?

This week a Notary Colleague of mine has written:-

I act for a client who has dementia. Her Bank has ignored my letters advising them of a change of address from the flat sold in 2014, and when she wrote [with my help] to give them the same information they said they would not accept written advice because of fraud and she must telephone them. She cannot hear anything on the phone. So with help she wrote telling them and they replied that she must telephone them!

Similarly the bank will not accept written instructions to transfer the balances.

So what are folk to do? One way is the way millions of people have decided to act. Just pretend!

If you are Mrs X, a neighbour and friend of Mrs Y who is deaf and bed-bound, then you use her card and you use her PIN. When you phone the Bank you introduce yourself as Mrs Y.

You tell lies.

The point that the Charity makes is, this pragmatic behaviour surely can’t be the way forward.

And it is risky too, whether for the account owner or for the friend who is trying to help. They are both, for the best of reasons, defrauding a Bank. And with hindsight, that behaviour can be presented in a very different light and even with criminal consequences.

As the population ages this kind of problem is not going away, but what are the alternatives?

Most people already know that in England you can make a “Lasting Power of Attorney” and the Government is minded to try to make this course easier. You can now make your Lasting Power on line at this website

So that’s all sorted, on to the next problem?

Err, no. Not really.

Problem number one, folk are getting into a muddle. Making it possible to create a complicated document like a lasting Power of Attorney online all by yourself without a lawyer is fraught with danger.

Danger of getting it wrong.

Danger that the person online is actually a greedy relative pretending to be the “Patient” (who is in fact already too far into dementia to know what is going on.).

Danger that mistakes will cost a lot more, in the long run, than the fees a Solicitor would charge now.

Thing is, most people who can afford a Solicitor are well aware that the Power of Attorney is too difficult and dangerous a beast to contemplate trying to DIY it online. The people tempted to use the website may be the people least able to do so. There is a warning paper link here prepared by the group of Lawyers called Solicitors For The Elderly.

[If you are a cynic you may think, well they are Solicitors, of course they will say you should use a Solicitor. In my experience, any Solicitor who has chosen to make a career in the realm of advice for the elderly rather than say Commercial Property and Banking, is not usually guided by ideas of getting rich. Am I naive, my view is that these Solicitors actually care?]

And problem number two, the Banks still have not trained their staff fully about these Powers of Attorney. Still they do not understand them. They think in black and white. If an Attorney has been appointed, it is not always the case that the Donor has lost capacity and that the Power should be registered with the Court.

The Banks in the main do not read the Powers of Attorney documents or seek to distinguish a Power which is expressed to let the Bank Account be operated by EITHER the owner OR his Attorney.

So again, the intention that the document should simply assist a carer to deal with an older person’s banking is defeated, if the Bank says it will only allow this on the basis that the Bank account is completely changed into the Carer’s name.

Because then, the account owner is effectively locked out of their account and can ONLY operate through the Attorney – and now the Bank will not accept your phone calls at all, only those from the Attorney. Now only the carer can sign cheques or make phone calls about the account. This is not usually what is wanted, when the infirmities are physical and not mental

Sledgehammer. Nut.

This needs sorting out. No-one is Peter Pan.

“All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”
― J.M. BarriePeter Pan

This week’s song is a good one, though fittingly sombre. Bones. link here

As ever, do contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or] where we shall be more than happy to assist whenever you have paperwork to be processed for foreign countries.


Be Cautious. Understand Your Document Before You Sign It. Make Sense?

A Note of Caution, Always a Good Idea. Do You Understand Your Document?

When you come to see me as a Notary, I will facilitate your transaction. I mean, I will make the documentation you sign in my presence acceptable to the foreign jurisdiction.

If it needs two witnesses in addition to me [South Africa, Zimbabwe, California USA, India] we will provide them.

If it needs two witnesses of whom I can be one, [Florida USA] we will do that.

If the document needs to be signed by you in the presence of witnesses and then notarized in respect of the witnesses only, [some Caribbean Countries] we will do that.

If the document needs Foreign and Commonwealth Apostille after notarization [most Countries] we will do that.

If it needs Arab-British Chamber stamps [Middle Eastern Countries], we do it.

Consular legalisation [China, UAE, many others], yes we do.

If it needs translating into Portuguese [Dominican Republic] guess what, yes, we do that too.

There is more, but perhaps the point is made that whatever is needed to ensure your document is correct for the jurisdiction to which you will send it [and of course, we can send it there for you, by FedEx] – we know what to do and we will do it well.

HOWEVER, all of the above is relating to the form and manner of execution of your paperwork. The notarial gift-wrapping, you could say.

What we cannot do, and must not do if we could, is explain to you the meaning of the paperwork you are asking us to witness. Still less, give you any advice as to whether you are doing the sensible thing.

We cannot tell you whether your proposed Attorney is honest.

We cannot tell you whether your Chinese language paperwork exactly reflects your intentions and is correctly worded for use in the Chinese Court.

And of course if the document is written in American, we cannot necessarily translate it into English for you.

Some aspects of the American language are understood here in England. Sidewalk, elevator. Even the use of the French word “Entree” – in the rest of the world meaning the starter course of a meal – to describe the main course.

Or the use of the English word “Fillet” [properly pronounced FILLETT] as if it were French and pronounced FEELLAY. Herbs with that? No, URBS please.

And as Jeremy Clarkson points out, the Yankees build their cars with the steering wheel on the wrong side.

Which is fine in a way, but does of course mean that the driver can’t reach it.

Which again is OK, as long as the passenger knows how to drive.

So my point is, that with an American document, the fact that the words used are mainly in the English Dictionaries, does not mean that I, or you if you are not yourself an American Lawyer, actually understand them. So you really should take advice from a suitably US-qualified lawyer or else you take risks.

Yesterday I assisted a client who has resolved a dispute with third parties in the US who have agreed to pay him money in settlement of a claim. The document he has been required to sign is a release and discharge, stating the terms of the settlement payment and including the words “receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged”.

I asked him when he had received the money, for which the paper is his clear receipt and was told – “I haven’t had anything yet – I will get it when I return the form”.

He probably will, but, you know – really??

I mean, by that logic, they might as well have asked him to sign and have notarised a blank piece of paper, on the basis that they would fill the words in later. The Receipt, to be signed before payment was made, is Nonsense, to an English perspective. And yet, fairly standard practice in the States.

Here’s a nonsense song.

Anyway, once you are sure that your document fully accords not only with your intentions and requirement, but also with the relevant foreign law and practice, do get in touch and we will do the needful with witnesses, certificates, Consular and FCO stamps, ribbons string and couriers.

Contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or] where we shall be more than happy to assist further.

Has anyone noticed? Brexit. Trump. Leonard Cohen.

Has anyone noticed, there is quite a lot of stuff going on in the World?

Far be it from me to prepare a coherent narrative or seek to explain a year which includes Brexit, Trump and the passing of Leonard Cohen.

There does seem to be scope for a re-reading of the words of H. L.Mencken who was never a fan of the democratic process. He said many sage things, and he said about a hundred years ago  “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American Public”, “For every complex problem there is an answer which is clear, simple and wrong” and “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance, so that on some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron”.

Contrariwise, it was Winston Churchill who explained that, on the one hand, “Democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms which have been tried from time to time” and, on the other “The best argument against Democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

So, best wait and see I imagine.

Last week in England we had the judgment of the High Court in Miller re Brexit link here

The decision was derided by that bastion of fairness and liberty the Daily Mail, apparently not least because one of the Judges is an “openly gay ex-Olympic fencer”. [Cue misogynist, racist, homophobic muttering about “all of those openly gay ex-Olympic fencer High Court Judges, coming over here, from wherever openly gay ex-Olympic fencing Judges come from, taking our jobs, medals and boyfriends”].

Even in the more rational newspapers, columnists see the Court decision as a politicised declaration of judicial opinion rather than what it is intended to be, an honest exposition of the laws of the United Kingdom. A UKIP Member has said “Should not the Judges be subject to some sort of democratic control?”

Like Hitler, who replaced all the Judges, not only the gay athletic ones?

J.K. Rowling tweeted “Yes and why stop at Judges? So sick of unelected Doctors deciding what’s wrong with me”

If I may, I would refer you to what I think is the coolest analysis, and best, of the Brexit Court case, from the Lawyer magazine. Link here.

Anyway, let’s stay cheerful. In the words of the late Mr Cohen, “I have seen the future,
baby: It is murder.”

You sing along now – link here

And, as always, whenever you require any help with Notarisations and foreign legal documents, please do not hesitate to contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary [0113 816 0116 or] where we shall be more than happy to assist further.