Another Interesting Notary Blog. Sort Of.

Another Interesting Notary Blog. Sort Of.

A few weeks ago I gave an example of the excitement which the Notarial profession can provide.

A world where such issues as “Shall We Use Blue Ink, Or Shall We Use Black” can really get the blood pounding through our veins.

No, really. – Link Here –

And the fun never stops.

Now such questions as to the necessary colour of ink might not be in the same league as the dilemmas faced by rocket scientists. [Or should that be Brain Surgeons? – Link Here – ]

But the fact remains that if something is not “right” – and whether anything is right or not is to be defined by the end-user, in Turkey, Kazakhstan or wherever – then its rejection will be the consequence. At the very least, money will have been wasted, but at most the consequences could be life-changing. A job application refused, a visa not granted, a trade mark not registered, a right to sit an exam in USA denied.

So just as with the blue ink – black ink problem in Hungary, we Notaries have to be on our toes.

Most of the time, it’s just knowledge we need. The sort that experience brings, rather than what the textbooks contain.

Examples:-

To apply to marry in Italy, if you’re American living in England, you need two witnesses to your application.

On the other hand if you are Australian, you need four! Is there some tradition of Australian bigamy in Italy?

Or we can be faced with the “Catch-22” requirements of the Chinese consulate. A colleague Notary has a client wishing to purchase an interest in land in China. Since he is married in England, he is required to produce a notarised English marriage certificate stamped at the Chinese Consulate in London.

The Chinese Consulate takes the view that his spouse must sign the application for their stamp. Not a problem in this case, but what if the couple had become estranged or hostile to each other? No spouse signature, no stamp.

A client of mine wishes to issue proceedings in China against the assets there of an English Company. Not unreasonably the Chinese Court requires evidence that the company exists in England and that the Directors are the Chinese men named in the Court proceedings. The evidence it requires is a notarised certificate of the English Company House details. With UK Foreign Office stamp and with Chinese consular stamp.

But – the London Chinese Consulate will not stamp the certificate without the application of the Company Directors to do so. Because they are Chinese and the certificate affects them. As if those persons will sign an application to assist my client who wants to sue them, yeah right.

Finally, for this blog, a continuing phenomenon which seems to be on the rise, certainly it has not gone away since my 2015 Blog – link here – whereby foreign lawyers are sending Affidavits of truth to be sworn and notarised but which contain patent untruths!

Increasingly, clients come to us with incomplete documents which their lawyers abroad have asked them to swear on the basis that they will either fill in blanks, or add exhibits, when the sworn affidavit is returned to them.

I have even seen a client who has brought in a page numbered “20” with a request that I witness his signature and notarise.

“What is it though?”, I ask – “It’s the last page of my mortgage, you just need to say you saw me sign it.”

And so I asked

“Have you even read the full text of the mortgage, you know, stuff like the amount of the debt, or the interest rate?” – “No my solicitor is sorting all that out.”

I tell you true, it’s a laugh a minute here in Notary land.

Of course, whether your documents are riddles wrapped in foreign enigmas, or a bit less complex, either way, – Bring them here and we will sort them out for you.

Remember, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

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Litigants In Person. Going To Court Without a Lawyer. Best Not, Eh?

Litigants In Person. Going To Court Without a Lawyer.

There is a saying among lawyers – “A person who acts for himself has a fool for a client”.

As an incentive to the world never to go to the Courts without a Lawyer, and perhaps invented by lawyers, the motto could be accused of being merely self-serving. After all, lawyers will charge you money for acting on your behalf.

But really, would you rewire your own house? Do your own Dentistry? If it takes seven or eight year to learn these skills, perhaps it’s a bit arrogant to “do it yourself”?

Nevertheless, there are many people who do take their complaints through the Courts and do so without any Solicitors or Barristers. And because legal aid is so hard to get, and Lawyers so expensive, it happens more and more.

See my earlier Blogs here and Here.

The result of the phenomenon of litigants appearing in court for themselves in person, can usually be expected to be that cases are delayed. The Judges typically do go out of their way to indulge and assist the unrepresented, in spite of the fact that very often their cases are based upon misunderstandings both of the law and of the procedure of the Courts.

And this indulgence is often complained about by other parties to such litigation.

Really, they say, I am paying my lawyers a lot of money to represent me in the Court case, and I am being charged for their time, and yet many extra hours are being wasted because the other side isn’t properly prepared and doesn’t understand the law or the procedure and I am having to pay for this and, the icing on the cake, is the fact that my own lawyers seem to be assisting them.

But there is a case reported – Link Here – in February which underlines that there is a limit to the indulgence the Court will show to such characters.

In Barton – v- Wright Hassell, Barton who was unrepresented by any lawyers, notified the defendants of his claim by email.

There are rules about that. And if Barton had been represented by properly qualified lawyers, they would have served the papers by post or personal delivery within the rules.

In this case, Barton had waited until the very last day that he could serve his claim, then sent it by email. The lower Court threw out his claim because it had not been properly served. But it was now too late to serve it properly. Barton Appealed.

In effect Barton said to the Appeal Court – I am not a lawyer. I can’t be expected to know all the difficult rules of the Court. The defendant have got computers, I sent them an email. They received the email. It contained all the necessary details of my claim. Let’s get on with it.

Seem reasonable?

Or is he in fact saying – because I am ignorant, and have not bothered to research and learn the rules of the Court nor pay someone who does know the rules to act for me, therefore the rules should be relaxed for me?

The Court has told Barton to “sling his hook”.

The decision is, that the Rules of the Court are the Rules. They are not rules which only solicitors and legally qualified persons have to obey but which other people do not. The Judge said “The rules on service are neither inaccessible nor obscure”. If you don’t read the rules, you lose.

As others have said, this decision – that everyone has to obey the rules -, is not in any way restrictive of a litigant in person’s rights. Their rights, like everyone’s rights, is to DO THINGS PROPERLY.

The only problem I have with this eminently sensible resolution, is that the Court’s judgment was a majority decision. Two Judges disagreed. Thankfully, they were in a minority and no one need pay any attention to them.

So well done everybody, The Law Won. Link Here

Remember, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com

Make a Will. Make a List. Think Digital.

Make a Will. Make a List. Think Digital

If you die …….. – perhaps I should start again.

WHEN you die.

Yes that has a better ring to it. Because, you will. Sorry about that.

Some folk obsess about their coming deaths, some are terrified. Philip Larkin was the expert -Link Here-

It seems to me that unlike Larkin most folk put the matter at the back of their minds and concentrate on choosing a new car.

The fact is, we are all of us in a short term period and when it’s over it’s over. During our short lives, we tend to accumulate STUFF. For thousands of years this has been going on, and accordingly there has been plenty of time for the law to grow and take account of this human state of affairs.

There is a plentiful case-law and statue basis to regulate how we can make our wills and how the STUFF we leave behind is to be valued and what tax is to be paid on it and who can be “executors” appointed to deal with all this work. There are rules about Trusts, and estate management and the giving of gifts and surviving seven years and different inheritance tax rates for gifts to spouses and on it goes, and the lawyers have done it all before.

A problem arises however when a new technology disrupts all the previous ways of doing things.

For example, first mobile phones came into existence, and then the law noticed and regulation was invented to deal with it. Thirty or so years ago I was an “early adopter” of a Motorola mobile phone with perhaps thirty minutes talk time – ten hours to charge.

I used to dread it ringing if I was on a train, – embarrassing or what?

So that’s something that has swept the world – the phones arrived first, then the law caught up to deal with it.

Now someone invents Digital Currency, that’s Bitcoin right? Up to a point, Lord Copper. The internet carries a Digital Currency index of 1372 entries. Should you buy Bitcoin? But what about Pirl? Or Crypto Bullion? What what?

This seems to be an areas of assets which most of us have never heard of and people who probably don’t understand it (and if they think they do perhaps that’s only what they think) have nevertheless invested millions of real pounds into buying and selling it.

So in the last few years, millions, billions of pounds of value, exists ONLY inside computers.

So after thousands of years of folk being born and accumulating STUFF and then dying in a regulated world where the transmission of STUFF [less tax] to the next generation is clearly choreographed, now folk are dying as the owners of NEWSTUFF.

It’s STUFF, but it can only be found inside a computer. The law has not caught up.

And now when you die, your family or whoever goes into your study and can’t find a safe or a filing cabinet with a paper file list of all your investments and of where they are, what Bank, what sort code. Instead they find your iPad. And that’s it. And they don’t know how to open it and have a look.

Now if you were still alive, you could enter the locking password, and see what secrets the iPad holds.

If you are dead and have not told anyone at all what your password is, that might be the beginning of a world of pain for your loved ones.

If you have made your Will [You have made your Will, Haven’t you?] then you will have named your choice of persons to act as your Executors. Their job is to ascertain all of your assets, and realise them and pass them across to their new owners in accordance with your Will.

On the other hand, if all they have to start with is the knowledge that on your iPad is a document called “Open this when I am Dead” – but the iPad is locked ……

It seems that it is possible for Apple or the FBI to open a locked iPad. But they won’t do it for you. There are ways to get the iPad going again, but they involve restoring the device, and thereby wiping all of its previous contents so that you start again as if it were new. Not too useful.

So at the very least, put your Will in a drawer in your house and in the same envelope put in the necessary codes to open your computer.

And if you are the Executor, once you are inside the computer, take care. The on-line “assets” of the deceased computer-owner will be held on the basis of the terms and conditions of the relevant on-line provider. You know, those boring pages full of stuff we never read before we tick the button that says ”I have read and accept these terms”.

So bear in mind that it is not necessarily a matter of logging in to those assets using the i/d and password of the deceased. That might be a criminal office. If you find my i/d and password details for my bank and use them to log in – that is a crime whilst I am alive. And likely enough, whilst I am dead also.

And if the deceased has an Amazon prime or Netflix or Spotify account, can anyone continue to use them after his/her death? If s/he has ten children can s/he leave all the Kindle electronic books collection to each of them? You can’t do that with real books.  And an iTunes music collection? It might have cost thousands of pounds for a huge collection of music, but the right to listen to any of it dies with the deceased.

It is a minefield and the law is not yet up to speed with the issues.

The best you can do I suggest, is make your Will with a Solicitor who is alive to all of these issues [see what I did there?] and make specific provision for each of your digital assets.

And don’t forget, tell them the unlock code for your device!

In the meantime –Link Here- Life’s A Gas

Remember, if you require our services or if you have any queries on any of the services that we offer then please so not hesitate to email us louise@atkinsonnotary.com and notary@atkinsonnotary.com.

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747.  Please also feel free to visit our website http://www.atkinsonnotary.com