General Ignorance And Specific Ignorance [about Notaries]

General Ignorance And Specific Ignorance [about Notaries]

Some 25 years ago I was a partner in a firm of Solicitors which wanted to improve its marketing.

We employed marketing experts to assist and their first piece of advice was that we should carry out surveys and questionnaires. To ask our own clients and other businesses and potential referrers and potential competition in the City about their present perception of our business. Based upon that feedback we could decide which areas of our marketing image and brand we would need to address or improve.

The rather eye-opening fact about the responses when we were able to consider them was that those canvassed who had actually heard of us thought that we were very good however 95% of the responses said “Never Heard Of Them”.

At least the good news about that was that we could start from a clean sheet!

It may be that the Notarial profession in England is also something which is providing a very good service for those who have heard of it but in the main the response would similarly be “Never Heard Of It”

It often surprises me when I learn how clients have decided to instruct me.

The usual or expected path would be for a foreign lawyer to advise that a particular document requires Notarisation in England, the prospective client goes to a computer and Googles “Notary Leeds” or something similar and finds my name and address and off we go.

This is by no means always the case. [There are people who still use the yellow pages directory. My Mum.]

Recently I have acted for a lady who received paperwork from Turkey which needs Notarisation in England. She was told that this would not cost her anything and that the Turkish lawyers would pay the Notary’s fees.

For reasons which I think are not clear now even to her, my client decided to make her first enquiry of Leeds City Council! Really?

She telephoned their legal team to be told three completely wrong statements viz:-
1. There are no Public Notaries in Leeds;
2. A Power of Attorney for Turkey can be completed in Leeds and certified by any Solicitor;
3. If she were to instruct a Solicitor to do this then she would have to pay the fees there and then because “you would be the client”

Accordingly the information she received was exactly wrong three times out of three – almost breath-taking in its wrongness!

Clearly the public branding of the Notarial image still has a mountain to climb, if even some Solicitors have not heard of us.

A further generally-held but incorrect opinion is that in England a Notary Public [even if you have heard of him] cannot undertake Conveyancing nor work in the area of Probate of Wills and Estates.

Again, exactly wrong.

It may be that some readers of this Blog are themselves Solicitors who perhaps wrongly understand that Notaries may not carry out Conveyancing or Probate work in England. Perhaps therefore this blog could serve as an “aide memoir” as to that.

The standard Council for Mortgage Lenders’ handbook confirms that all parties’ regulated legal representatives must be verified – and “legal representatives” are defined by the Legal Services Act 2007 schedule 4 and schedule 7 paragraph 5.

The acceptable legal representatives are “those who are currently on record with the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Council for Licenced Conveyancers or other legal regulatory body”.

The legal body concerned in the case of a Notary is the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury – Link here .

The Faculty Office issues its Practising Certificates to Notaries and regulates the activities of Notaries under the ultimate supervision of the Legal Services Board.

The Legal Services Board is also the ultimate regulator of the Law Society which regulates Solicitors.

Here is a link to the Solicitors Regulation Authority – their paragraph “where we fit in with other approved regulators” is helpful.

Happy Christmas to You, here’s a lovely song

If you would like to have your [or your Company’s] Notarial work done properly, do please get in touch – You can contact me or Louise here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email