Notary? There aren’t any in England are there? So Who are you?

Notary? There aren’t any in England are there? So Who are you?

Louise Morley Explains

What is a Notary?  – is a question that I get asked probably daily! – when I am first contacted by a new client they often say “I did not know what a Notary was – it was only when I contacted my solicitor to deal with my documents that they informed me that it is a Notary I need and not a Solicitor”.

So I thought I would issue a Blog with some examples of what it is I do on a daily basis.

In no particular order – just random examples:-

APOSTILLE [ see Chris’s earlier blog about them, and below]

I get asked on many occasions to obtain an “Apostille” on a Birth, Death or Marriage Certificate.  I am able to undertake this without having the need to notarise the document beforehand.  As long as the Certificate is an “original” certified copy then the Foreign Office are happy to put the Apostille on identifying the Registrar who has signed the document which confirms the certificate’s authenticity.

It is not possible to submit a photocopy of a British Birth, Death or Marriage Certificate for Apostille as the Foreign Office will reject this as an illegal document.  All Certificates issued by the General Records Office [GRO] are subject to “copyright” Laws.

If the original certificate you hold has sentimental value to you, for example, it was issued at the time of your birth or on the day of your marriage then do not worry, we can obtain our own new original certified copy direct from the GRO.

If you require any further information in relation to this service then please let me know.


We often get asked to attest, certify and witness execution of a Spanish Power of Attorney [Poder].  The usual reason for such a document is that a client in England is purchasing or selling a property in Spain or obtaining a Spanish NIE number [similar to our National Insurance number, for foreigners in Spain] then it is usual to instruct a Spanish Lawyer or family member to deal with legalities and documentation in Spain if you are unable to travel and deal with this.  It is always advisable that the Poder is drafted by a Spanish Lawyer and emailed to us or to you direct for this to be executed in Chris’s presence in Leeds.  The document usually is set out in two columns – one being the wording of the Power in Spanish and the second being the English translation.

It is the Spanish way that not only should a Notary witness the signature to the document but to also read the content of the Poder to the client “out loud” to make sure that it is fully understood before being signed.  Once the Poder has been executed correctly and notarised it is usual that the Spanish will then also require an “Apostille” stamp on the document.  The Apostille stamp is issued by the Foreign Office in Milton Keynes.  The purpose of this stamp is to confirm to the Spanish that the document has been dealt and sealed by someone who actually is a fully qualified and insured Notary Public. The Apostille stamp is usually placed on the reverse of the executed page of the Poder.  It usually takes around 4 days to obtain an Apostille.


We see many clients – often Doctors, Nurses and Dentists and other “Medics” who are going to work in Australia.  The Australians usually require various documentation to be certified by a notary.  This usually includes copies of educational Certificates and copy identification.  The Australians do have specific wording which they require the Notary to write on the notarised copies and this includes the word “sighted” – for example “I certify that this be a true copy of the original sighted by me” – if this wording is not written then the likelihood is that the documents will be rejected.

It is also I fear quite usual for the Australians to request further documents after you have been to see the Notary, I often see the same client on more than one occasion with further documents requested which can be frustrating for the client taking up more of their time and of course further expense.


I am able to obtain Companies House documents e.g. Certificates of Good Standing – Articles of Association – Shareholder information etc.  We do have the facility to obtain Company House documents direct and notarise them as genuine for use in any country in the world.

You may need such documents notarising if you are registering a Company Trademark overseas or opening a new office abroad etc.. – there are many reasons why you may need notarised company documents and if you require any further information then please do not hesitate to contact me.


We see many Indian clients who require us to assist with Powers of Attorney for use in India – India is a very big country and lawyers in different areas of India have different ideas on what the Power of Attorney should say.  So even though we have many hundreds of different Indian Powers of Attorney in our precedent bank, I always advise clients to instruct an Indian Lawyer in the city or village where the Power of Attorney is to be used and ask them email their preferred document wording directly to me.  We feel this is the only way to get the document accepted first time!


Please note that I have certified translators who can provide me with translations of any document into any language – if you have a document which requires translation then I can obtain a quote from my translator – once the translation has been obtained we are able to prepare a notarial certificate confirming that the translation is genuine.  If this is something that you would be interested in then please let me know.

Please note however, We will not prepare a notarised certificate on a translation that we ourselves have not obtained.  I have had clients who have brought in a translation they have obtained and asked if we can notarise this as a genuine accurate translation– please note we cannot.

I try not to make these Blogs too long – I don’t want boredom to set in!  I will write more Blogs from time to time [Give Chris a rest!] and refer to other aspects of our services.

Do Contact me or Chris if ever you have a need of Foreign Documentation or just want to discuss matters with us. 0113 8160116, my email is