Should We Change English Marriage Certificates?

Should We Change English Marriage Certificates?

Have a look at your English Marriage Certificate – what do you notice?

Perhaps I should not admit it but even though I have been a Notary Public for over twenty years and qualified as a Solicitor earlier than that, I must confess that I have not really noticed that a Marriage Certificate issued in England and Wales shows the name and job description of the father of the groom and of the father of the bride – yet there is no mention whatsoever of the profession or identity of their Mothers.

There is currently a petition to Parliament that this situation should change. Those proposing the change point to the practice in Scotland [which is currently a member Country of the United Kingdom] where details of both the Mothers and Fathers appear on Marriage Certificates.

The proponents of the change appear so far as I can tell to be basing their petition upon a straightforward idea of “fairness”

They feel, as one blog puts it, that women are “routinely silenced and written out of history” and that the present English and Welsh marriage certificate confirms marriage to be “a business translation between father of bride and father of groom”.

Other reasons raised are that in a country with millions of single parent families the majority of those single parent families are children living with their Mothers, so when those children get married their important parent is that Mother, who “deserves” to be written into the personal history that the Marriage Certificate represents.

In many other cases the Bride or Groom or both when getting married may have been brought up each by their own Mother and by a man who is not their Father but a Step-father. The feeling of many of those people may be that the marriage certificate should show the name or names of those guardians who have lived with them throughout their childhoods and cared for them. It is felt that thereby the marriage certificate becomes an acknowledgement of the care and guardianship which those people have provided.

The counter view is that this whole issue is turning into a media campaign to no real purpose, and that a Marriage Certificate is not in any event intended as a sentimental souvenir of a special day. “That is what the photo album is for”, say the antis.

What about the argument that if the form of the certificate does change, and the Mothers of the Bride and of the Groom should be recorded on the marriage certificate, then the surname of that Mother nine times out of ten is likely to be the name of her husband because in England the vast majority of ladies change their names when marrying? Therefore the result of adding the Mothers’ names, ironically, would be to give further information as to the male ancestry of the marriage partners.

As a Notary Public whose profession is based upon identification of human beings and providing certification of such identification my view must surely be that the more information to be obtained from certificates of birth, death and marriage the better.
No doubt genealogists in years to come would also welcome the proposed expansion of the information provided by more details being shown in marriage certificates in England and Wales.

At a time when new forms of marriage and civil partnership certificates are having to be drafted and composed to incorporate new provisions to incorporate civil partnership and same-sex marriage this would perhaps seem to be a good as time as any for the petitioned changes to take place.

Please do contact me whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation – at or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

Cybersecurity – Not Just For Dummies

Cybersecurity for Dummies? It’s for all of us – Plenty of very intelligent people have been hacked or scammed.

We all rely upon our computers and most of us don’t understand much about them. My job is to certify that people and companies and certificates are genuine. To an extent the Notarial Profession is under attack from computer based companies who suggest that this kind of certification should be provided by computers and would be cheaper if it were.

I have been interested in learning about the risks of using the internet – scamming, phishing, hacking.

My own view is that you replace a Notary with a computer at your peril – computers can be engines of Deceit [who really even knows where an email has come from?] – Notaries are engines of Trust.

Take the case of the “Internet Certification Company” called DigiNotar. This company authenticated huge amounts of data for third parties, charged fees and yet seems to have made no efforts at all to keep its data safe.

When it got hacked, it made matters worse by failing to admit what had happened, so that none of its customers knew that their data had been stolen.

Surfing the internet, as you do, I came across this link to free e-book, and obviously since I am from Yorkshire and like a bargain when it’s free, I clicked the link.

The “for Dummies” series is a well-known brand of instruction books and this one is written by a large US company which writes and sells Internet and Computer network safety programs. And sure enough one of the horror stories it mentions is the tale of DigiNotar, the “digital certification” company bankrupted by hackers. By the way, the title is catchy but the book is certainly not for Dummies. There are simple messages included among the complicated ones however – “take nothing on the internet at its face value” being the primary one.

If you want to read it, – I am ploughing through it now and certainly gaining an appreciation of the risks of the internet if not too much of an understanding about how to deal with them – the link is below.

Click to access cybersecurity-for-dummies.pdf

[Palo Alto, which has produced the book, is a large US company which writes Internet and Computer network safety programs. Obviously, there are many other Companies in this market]

My own view is that we Notaries have been reliably certifying truth for the past thousand years or so. If computers and the Internet are the best available alternative, the Notarial Profession should be fine for a few years yet!

Please do contact me whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation – at or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

No Justice for You Today, You Used the Wrong Size of Paper!

Notaries prepare documents for use all over the World. What should it matter, what size the paper is?

In England we used to use various paper sizes you can’t buy nowadays in ordinary shops. Are you old enough to remember? – Foolscap, Judicature, Quarto, Sixmo. How about Crown, Demy and Pott?

If the wrong size paper was submitted to the Court it would have been rejected. That all seems very historical now, because we in England and Europe all use the European sizes, A4 usually. The very idea that justice would be denied, because the pleadings were written on the wrong sized paper seems at first glance to be wrong-headed, an obsession with form above substance.

Usually, our clients’ first reactions are the same – that an Indian request for the use of green coloured paper in a size we cannot easily buy – or a Caribbean request for “Foolscap” or “American legal Brief” Size – is indicative of a small minded obsession with niceties and blindness to the bigger picture.

It is either amusing, or frustrating beyond endurance, depending upon your viewpoint, that in the Highest Court of the Largest Country in the World, the requirements of the USA Supreme Court Rule 33 are that all motions to be accepted shall be filed in forty [yes 40] originals on “paper that is opaque, un-glazed, 6 1/8 by 9 1/4 inches in size, and not less than 60 pounds in weight, and shall have margins of at least three fourths of an inch on all sides” Amusingly, there seems to be no way that this paper can be purchased anywhere in the world. You have to instruct a professional publisher, [who will want thousands rather than hundreds of dollars] or get a paper guillotine! Also, it is a different size from the requirements of any of the other States of the USA. Apparently, you can blame the British for this, the Supreme Court paper dimensions are an English size called “Royal Octavo” from the eighteenth Century – long disused here in England.

Interestingly the ambit of rule 33 excludes “paupers”. Paupers can file any size of document! The catch 22 is that in order to be ruled a pauper and outside the rule 33 (so that you can use ordinary paper from a shop when you petition the Supreme Court) you have to apply for the court to accept you as such. Guess what size of paper your application has to be! Only “unrepresented persons confined to Institutions” can use any old paper as of right.

BUT should there be outrage or ridicule – I wonder. Whilst it is easy to get hot under the collar we need to keep a perspective. The Supreme Court, and all Courts in all countries, are under pressure of time. They are manned by highly trained persons whose time is extremely valuable. In some countries the systems are drowning under the weight of new work. Surely they have the right to require that the paperwork they are asked to read should be in a consistent format of their choosing.

It is of course the job of your Notary to get the substance of your paperwork right first time, I will also make sure that the form of it is right first time. Please do contact me whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation – at or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

For an amusing albeit lengthy tirade about rule 33, try this

Notaries can Protect Your Inventions

Notaries can Protect your Inventions

If your livelihood is based upon being able to market and sell your clever and inventive products then the chances are that you have already spent huge amounts of time and money to bring your idea to market.

The problem is that as soon as you start to sell something new and brilliant, other people will be tempted to make copies. Without having invested any time or effort in original development the crooks and fakers can probably sell their copies very cheaply – cheaper than you can!

This can ruin your business unless you constantly take measures to protect your invention – your “Intellectual Property” [I.P.]. These measures – of Trade marking and Patent protection {lumped together as “Intellectual Property”} -are well understood and, in the main, effective in UK but in the Far East the position is much less clear-cut.

In past years there have been particular difficulties for British companies selling their goods in China. Fakery of this kind has been rife in China and it seems that the Courts there have been more focused upon making [low and inadequate] awards of compensation than in actually stopping trademark and I.P. infringement.

Also Fake products are being advertised and marketed online – often appearing at night on the internet when Chinese Notaries’ offices are traditionally closed. Then, disappearing from the internet during the daytime.

Clients of mine have also found reason to fear that local Lawyers in a Chinese City might be reluctant to act against infringers in that City and might even be under threat of intimidation.

Further problems particularly in China arise from the fact that the current law there places the burden of proof on the legitimate business which has to show that any discovered counterfeits are fake, rather than the Courts requiring the person marketing the goods to show that the product is properly authorized.

However it may be that the tide in China is turning. Compensation awards in Guangdong Province are rising according to the Director of the Intellectual Property department there.

The lessons to learn are to keep a vigilant and constant look on the internet – this can be done in England of course (one advantage being of course the time difference is such that night time internet operations in China, can be identified in England in the daytime).

If Notary offices in China are unwilling or inexperienced in the matter of web-based evidence gathering then again this can be done from England.

A company which does not take action to protect its Intellectual property will be the loser in the long term – if not the alarmingly short term.

I work closely with Trademark Attorneys who can help you protect your business around the world; Please do contact me whenever you need my assistance, with this or with any Notarial Certification or Legalisation – at or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)