Notary Certification Of Degrees – A Rubber Stamp? Or A Matter Of Life And Death?

Notary Certification Of Degrees – A Rubber Stamp? Or A Matter Of Life And Death?

Louise Morley writes – It is good to be back in the office and, to celebrate, here is my first Blog of the new normal.

We have blogged before about the crucial importance of Degree verification. Here and Here.

Now once again, here is a link to an Indian newspaper – this time a mother has lost her unborn child because of a criminal with fake certification who was able to get a job and hold it for ten years as a Doctor at Bangladesh Medical College Hospital.

There is nothing to be done about the harm that has been done. No compensation can reverse a death.

If you are a Degree Holder you are competing for employment with criminals whose degrees are fake. You can get the edge by proving that your qualifications are Genuine, with verification by a Notary.

If you are an employer – do we really need to say it – CHECK the references? How? With verification by a Notary.

It has been brought to our attention on more than a few occasions that persons who require to have their educational and police certificates certified for use abroad are increasingly finding “Solicitors” who are willing and prepared to give a certification on a document which is to be used abroad.

For anyone who is not aware, please note that a “Solicitor” and a “Notary” are two different professions – both can in fact give certifications on documents.  A Solicitor can certify documents for use in England and Wales and a Notary gives certifications on documents for use in any country of the world.  A Solicitor is a creature of England and Wales only, and usually only carries insurance to deal with documents within the remit of England and Wales. Also they are liable only to their own clients, not to third parties who rely on their certificates.

A Notary is a legal officer who is authorised to deal with documents for ANY country of the world and also carries insurance for all third parties.

There is also great confusion as to what is meant by a “certification”.  Most certifications given by solicitors are to confirm that a document is a true copy of an original – so for example, they would take your Degree Certificate, place it on a photocopier and take a copy and then certify that the copy produced is a true copy of the original and nothing further.

So if you are a crook with a forged certificate, you will get a Solicitor certification that “This is a true copy of the original”. They have put the lipstick on the pig. But it’s still a pig.

That certification is really not what the foreign jurisdiction are wanting to see.  They want a certification that confirms that a document is genuine and that what it says on it can be relied upon.

But all too often the lipsticked pig is accepted abroad because after all, the foreign end user probably doesn’t have English as their first language. What they are reading is “This is a true copy of the original”.

What they think those words mean is “The original Document of which this is a true copy is Genuine.”

They don’t.

A Notary Public authenticates your Degree or TEFL Certificate of ACRO Police check as GENUINE and “certifies” directly on either your original certificate to confirm this.

Students and job seekers tend to ring around for the best quotes and inevitably ring a Solicitors office asking for a certification and are told “yes we can do that for a fiver” – client is ecstatic to get it done so cheaply because of course a Notary’s fee to authenticate and verify and notarise is much more than a measly fiver – so off they trot to the high street solicitor firm with their certificates to get “certified” copies done for a fiver so they can use them abroad.

Once they have their certified copies, say they are wanting to use them in UAE for a teaching job they have got lined up – they will be aware that once they have their certified certificates they need to then submit them to the Foreign Office to obtain additional stamps called an “Apostille” – Apostille cost £30 each and then finally the UAE Embassy stamps costing £37.00 each – so off they go to the post office to post their solicitor certified copies to the Foreign Office for their respective Apostille – Apostille placed on the document no problem confirming that the Solicitor signature is genuine – finally the client submits them to the UAE Embassy and pays all the fees to get the certificates stamped.

Job done, so it seems, client has got his/her certificates back “certified” and legalised with the FCO and UAE – so now they send to the end recipient in UAE so they can hopefully get the green light to go out and undertake employment.  Sadly this is when the client gets told the bad news that their solicitor certified and legalised certificates have been rejected as they have been dealt with by a Solicitor and not a Notary. And of course, does not even say that the degree is Genuine.

It has been a major waste of time and money for the client – back to the drawing board they go to find a Notary who is able to certify and legalise their certificates in the correct manner.

This is happening more often than not and this Blog is really just to highlight the point to our clients and our solicitor colleagues of the pitfalls of giving just a certification.

Nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems – But doing it right, could save a life.

So let’s all sing – Don’t Let the Bad Guys Win

We are back at work, so please do contact me or Chris whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)




AtkinsonNotary Blogs are back HOORAY

AtkinsonNotary Blogs are back. (and the final Chapter in the Wm Morrison saga)

The absence of our regular blogs was a merely trivial consequence of the present CV19 plague, but we missed them and now hope to resume them.

Louise and I have now re-opened our office.

Please note that our office premises are closed to visitors but we have a cunning plan!

I have a camper van – 6 metres long – which is parked in the office carpark where we can meet you. I sit at one end, masked – you sit at a table at the other end. And a splash of hand sanitizer before and after we meet.

Also, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has partially re-opened after being closed for three weeks. Apostilles are likely to take over a week to obtain.

Many consular offices have closed and others are working on reduced service; we can advise you as required.

Anyway – the Blog.

Earlier Blogs related to recent litigation on the topic of “Vicarious Liability”. This is the concept that if you are hurt by the fault of an employee who is at work in the course of his business duties, but that employee cannot afford to provide adequate compensation, then you can address your claim to the employer.

The sort of thing – You are run over by a brewery lorry delivering barrels to local pubs and it turns out the driver knew the brakes weren’t working properly but hadn’t bothered to tell the Brewery.

The Brewery might well truthfully say – if he had bothered to tell us, we would have fixed the brakes so this really isn’t our fault.

Even so, the law from as long ago as the 18th Century has said in the words of Chief Justice Holt “For seeing somebody must be a loser, it is more reason, that he that employs and puts a trust and confidence…should be a loser rather than a stranger’.

My earlier blogs about vicarious liability both involved by complete co-incidence the unfortunate employer Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc.

The first one is about the petrol pump attendant who went fully “postal”. The link is here
Morrisons were held vicariously liable to compensate.

The second is the case of their data protection officer who went rogue and put private, personal details of over one hundred thousand employees on the internet. Again, Morrisons lost the case and are held liable to compensate. The link is here

That case then was appealed by Morrisons who lost the appeal because the appeal Court followed the reasoning of the Judge of the first Court.

In both cases the legal discussions and arguments reminded us that the Law was and remains that:- There cannot be vicarious liability unless both of two factors are present,

First the person causing the damage must be, broadly speaking, “at work” that is, doing stuff the employer is paying for.

So if you are run over by the brewery lorry on a Saturday night when the driver is not at work but has taken it for a drive without permission, that test may not be met

And second, that there is “sufficient connection between the employment position and the wrongful conduct”

So in the first Morrison case, the petrol station attendant who punched and assaulted the customer had gone mad and certainly any employer would dismiss him but he was nevertheless (albeit consumed with unreasonable rage) shouting at the poor victim that he was barred from Morrisons and must never come back there. He was clearly, in his deluded mind, “at work” and “exercising his authority as an employee”.

So, in that case, the tests were met and Morrisons have to pay for the consequences even though their only fault was to trust their employee to behave properly and there had been no previous suggestion that he would not.

And in the second case also, the facts could be seen to be similar. – An employee who was trusted to do his job properly, suddenly turned rogue.

So in all three of the times that that case was heard before Courts, the argument of Morrisons was the same. Which is that the IT Data controller was not “at work” in the way that the mad petrol pump man was “at work”.

Morrisons argued, this was quite different:- that in this case, Mr Skelton was a trusted employee in the IT and data handling department of Morrisons, trusted to liaise with the Company accountants and supply sensitive data when necessary.

Although the Company knew that Mr Skelton had recently been disciplined for sending his own personal postage through the firm’s post room [even though he had paid for the stamps he used!] and it also knew that he felt that the treatment he had received was unnecessary and unfair, it had no reason to suppose that ideas of revenge would fester in his mind until they lead him to release the entire employee personal database contents onto the internet.

And Mr Skelton did not do that “on behalf of” Morrisons. He was not a petrol -pump man in uniform shouting and screaming “stay away from my employer’s business premises”.

Quite the contrary, he was a bitter man plotting in his bedroom how best to attack Morrisons and “make them pay” for his perceived injustice.

Eventually, Morrisons has found a judge who agrees.

Here is a link to the case transcript

So – you know – Glory Be and thank you for that.

We are perhaps left wondering why it has taken three court appearances over two years and left Morrisons millions of pounds out of pocket before an answer has finally been arrived at – the answer being what you might think any level headed observer would have expected from the beginning.

Mick and Keef were not in the Courtroom, but in their place the barristers told the Court once and told it twice and it never listened to their advice. Until the last time – link here

It is good to be able to finish by saying: – We are back at work, so please do contact me or Louise whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)