First this month, you may remember that I wrote over a year ago about the relatively new Civil Procedure rules which include rule 32.20.

This says that Documents created by a Notary Public “may be received in evidence” .. [in the civil courts of England and Wales] … “without further proof as duly authenticated in accordance with the requirements of law unless the contrary is proved”

I noted then that because a Notary is an independent third party lawyer owing a duty of care to the overall “Transaction” and not merely to the party paying him, therefore our Certificates can be of great assistance to any Judge.

Since my earlier blog I have indeed been asked to prepare several certificates for possible use in Court hearings.

Often they are concerned as I expected, with matters of Commercial Intellectual property – where for example I may be required to download webpages as proof that unlicensed copies of protected products are being advertised for sale on commercial websites.

I have been a little surprised however that many of my recent instructions have been in respect of private agreements by married couples. We have all heard of “pre – nups” where the parties to an intended marriage draw up an agreement stating who brings what financial assets into the marriage and who will take what out of it if the marriage should fail.

The agreements I have been asked to witness have been similar in intention. Typically a couple, who fear that their marriage may not last, wish to set out in a written document who is responsible for what in respect of their debts, or before taking on a new mortgage.

As with a pre-nup, I must advise the couple if they are married, that the Judge has a free hand in the event that their marriage should fail, [Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, s25] so that the notarised document could not bind the Judge to implement its terms.

Nevertheless, rule 32.20 does mean that the document would be admissible – that the Judge would read it. As such, it is most likely that the document would be important in assisting the Judge to reach his decision.

I think that this is an interesting development and would point out that all of the clients who have asked me to assist in this way, have sought me, I have not advertised or marketed myself for this sort of work.

Because I am not a Solicitor these days, I must give no element of advice, and the document is the one which the clients have agreed together to write. Clearly the parties feel that the fact that their agreement has been placed on record before an independent Notary gives them renewed trust in the good faith of each other.

It is possible to believe that my work in this way is assisting those couples to feel reassured about each other and perhaps helping to save marriages. I do hope so.

The second area where instructions seem to be on the increase is in relation by persons of Indian Origin to the Indian High Commission [IHC], for OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) visas.

Many times the applicants are unable to produce the last Indian passport upon which they travelled. Usually it has been surrendered to the British Home Office, or simply lost.

This is a problem because the Indian Government before issuing an OCI requires to have the Applicant’s Indian passport surrendered to it. Where this is impossible, please do note that a relevant Affidavit can be sworn before me, a Notary Public, and this will be acceptable to the IHC.

I have also been asked to notarise Affidavits as to change of Appearance, or theft of an Indian passport, and I can assist with those matters also.