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)