Lawyers, Latin, Highwaymen, Mopeds and so on.

Lawyers, Latin, Highwaymen, Mopeds and so on.

Does a Lawyer Need The Latin These Days?

I was learning Law in the 1970’s and whilst I have a Latin O’level, I never really needed to remember what Latin I had actually learnt in order to become a Solicitor.

It is many hundreds of years since the English court actually heard its cases in Latin, if they ever did.

From 1066 the official language of this country was French, or an anglicized version of it, until around the time of Henry V. However for whatever reason, our court transcripts and acts of parliament were written in Latin.

And the Romans a thousand years earlier had a system of Law which continues to be the basis of much of the Law of England today and naturally that was written in Latin.
It is a long time since any deep knowledge of Latin was essential for Lawyers in UK, but there are still a good many principles of the Law which derive from Roman law and/or which are pithily expressed in Latin maxims.

So there is some basis for Peter Cook’s Coal Miner’s famous regret. He said, he would much rather have been a High Court Judge than a Coal Miner.

Unfortunately, he never “had the Latin”. So that was it and he became a Coal Miner. – “and I would much prefer to have been a Judge than a Coal Miner because of the absence of falling coal.”

And in spite of official changes in 1999 to try to make the Court processes more accessible to those of us who do not “have the Latin”, in fact the Latin expressions in the Law do continue to be appropriate.

Les Mots Justes, en effet, n’est ce pas?

So – in Loco Parentis (My father is an Engine Driver) and Status Quo (Riffy Rock Band) continue to be well understood references in our Court.

And to Rick Parfitt, RIP. (Requiescat in Pace, that is. Latin, see).

I digress – well I have started now so I’ll carry on.

There are differences of attribution, as to the phrase and the Barrister, but most sources name the famous Sir Edward Marshall Hall defending his Irish peasant client for the following.

When the indignant Judge asked:-
“Has your client even heard of the words “Res Ipsa Loquitur”?” He replied – “My Lord, on the remote hillsides in County Donegal where my client hails from they speak of little else”.

So anyway, I just want to write about one Latin phrase – “Ex Turpi Causa Non Oritur Lex”.

Of course all of us in Donegal know that one. “From a Bad Cause, an action in Law does not arise”.

Example – you and your mate are horrible criminals. You decide to blow up my safe. Your pal is a bit clumsy with the gelignite and blows you up instead and you lose a limb. (Which admittedly, is a thing that can make your eyes water.)

SO:- then you issue court proceedings against him for the consequences of his carelessness, which you view as being a “right criminal liberty”, and then the court will tell you to go away at best. Because – Ex Turpi etc.

As far as I can ascertain, this motto has been in use through the ages immemorial. Because amazingly, who would have thought, human nature is the same now as it always was.

There is a case decided this year which mirrors a case from 1725. In 1725 the courts were a bit less touchy-feely than now, bear in mind.

In 1725 Mr Everet and Mr Williams were quietly going about their business of being Highwaymen. Not Coach Drivers, but stagecoach Robbers. Their “partnership” took in several lonely places on the unlit dirt roads of the Outer London area.

Then one dark and windy night, they had a bit of a windfall and hauled in over £200.00.
It is difficult to assess exactly how much money, in today’s values, that represented.

Most of the stuff we buy today did not exist in 1725, and all that Google tells me is that various comparables could justify a valuation of £200 in 1725 as being £30,000.00 now at the least, or perhaps as much as billions. The latter price, because the worlds of 1725 and 2018 hardly touch.

For one example, a family of two parents several children and two servants would have been able to live reasonably well in 1725 on an income of £200 per year- and try doing that today on only £30,000.00 a year. Only 3% of families earned as much as this.

The top 3% UK income now is over £300,000.00.

So all I can say is, £200.00 was an absolute fortune. And arguments about money only really arise when there is some money to argue about, don’t you find?

Therefore, when Mr Williams trotted off into the dark night with all of the swag, the bumper sum of over £200.00, with no regard for the claim of Mr Everet to have a half share, Mr Everet got cross.

This is what makes him seem so modern to me.

Instead of thinking, “I am a bad man and robbery is a bad thing to do and therefore Mr Williams is a bad man too so why am I surprised he has done this?”, he thought to himself – “This is a shocking liberty and something needs to be done about people like Mr Williams. Crikey, we are partners, this is awful.” There is no verbatim record, but I imagine that was his gist.

So off trots Mr E to see a dodgy lawyer, who drafts a claim against Mr W and files it at Court. Whilst the pleadings refer to their “partnership” more by euphemism than plain words (Latin or English) the Judges of 1725 were no more fooled than they would be today.

The solicitors who drafted the pleadings were arrested and fined £50 – a small fortune, and the drafting Attorney made to pay the Court costs.

Even more amusingly, both Everet and Williams were arrested and executed by hanging. (And today we get into a dither about police knocking thugs off mopeds – law enforcement was more robust in 1725, for better or worse).

And why were they both hanged and the solicitors punished? That’s right – “Ex Turpi Causa non oritur Lex”.

I bet Mr Everet wondered to himself on his last night under the shadow of the gibbet, “why didn’t I listen to those erudite farmers of County Donegal”. Again, I paraphrase.

But it would be wrong, I think, to view this case, as a historical amusement. These Everets and Williamses are the very thugs and self-absorbed idiot criminals who are so familiar today. And the case I referred earlier, this year was decided on the very same basis of “ex turpi.”

Here is – the link-

A chap Mr Gujra accepts £500 from father and son Roath for the little job of setting fire to their cars.

Later, he sued the Roaches for letting the Police arrest him and not helping him by “telling the Truth”

No mate – you won’t be winning that one, its ex turpi causa non oritur Lex, innit.

Or does anyone think they should all be hanged? Song here – Hang me

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Who Should Pay? And, What is Fairness?

Who Should Pay? And, What is Fairness?

I have written Blogs earlier, about problems which can be caused by rogue employees – by co-incidence they both involved the huge Supermarket Company WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC.

In the first case, Morrisons had to pay out compensation because a petrol pump attendant [that shows my age – let’s say, a man who worked at the till of a petrol station] went mad – or maybe he had been mad for years, but he suddenly let it show and attached a customer first with his fists, knocked him down and then kicked him.

Here is my Blog about that – Link Here-

The reason Morrisons had to pay compensation is because in England there is the concept of “vicarious liability”. An employer is liable to pay compensation for the consequences of civil wrongs “Torts” committed by its employees when they are working.

The thinking is that employers should recruit proper responsible people, and also supervise their actions sufficiently closely so as to ensure they behave well.

For example. if there is a bully in the office, harming co-workers lives and their mental health then an employer is liable to compensate for the harm done and also if the behaviour is not brought to an end.

When a wrongdoing is done by someone obviously at work, vicarious liability is relatively easy to identify.

But the law is imprecise at the edges. What if this petrol pump man had attacked a random person whilst on a bus on his way to work? Or whilst on holiday in Spain – paid for out of savings from earnings at work. Presumably, no vicarious liability.

What if a lorry driver carelessly runs you over, whilst making a stop at an ATM, half a mile from the route his employer had set him? Vicarious liability.

What if a lorry driver scheduled to drive from Leeds to London, carelessly runs you over at an ATM in Newcastle where he is skiving off to visit his girlfriend? Not Vicarious liability. He is too far removed from what he is employed to do, he is on a “frolic of his own” as the law calls it.

Another facet of the law surrounding the concept of vicarious liability, is that the motive of the employee is irrelevant. So if a bully wants to see fear, or a mad petrol kiosk attendant wants to see blood, or a lorry driver is simply careless, – doesn’t matter.

Say it again – motive doesn’t matter.

The second time Morrisons have been enmeshed in the complications of Vicarious Liability, is the one I blogged about here – Link here.

Quick summary:- Andrew Skelton worked for Morrisons as an internal auditor. He had access to personal data including bank details, NI numbers, phone numbers and possibly a lot more, about the employees of Morrisons. At least 5500 of them are represented in the Court claims but there may be over 100,000 of them according to some reports.

His problem was that Morrisons didn’t like him using their premises and computers to run his own “e-commerce” business when he was being paid to work for Morrisons.

I know – These prickly employers eh?

Having got into a lather about this sheer totalitarianism – the outdated mindset of Morrisons that their employees ought to spend their time at work attending solely to the affairs of Morrisons – he cooked up a cunning plan.

He downloaded all of the sensitive data to which he had access, and put it onto memory stick and took it home

He waited several weeks out of caution then he published all of the data online.

He is in prison now serving eight years. Good.

And Morrisons have been found liable to pay compensation to his victims. Vicarious Liability.

But the case has now been taken to the Court of Appeal by Morrisons. The argument they put forward is that this case is a very unusual one, because Skelton was primarily acting not in order to hurt the employees of Morrisons, who might suffer distress and worry and also perhaps financial loss to computer hackers – but only in order to hurt Morrisons and its business.

Skelton knew about the law of vicarious liability. He knew that Morrisons would be found liable for the consequences of this actions and he acted in order to maximise the financial loss to Morrisons.

So his crime was intended to hurt Morrison, and it has certainly worried one of the Judges of the previous hearing that the Court itself is being required find Morrisons liable vicariously and thereby, to do the criminal’s dirty work.

The spectre has arisen of the possibility of a new kind of financial terrorism.

At the latest Appeal hearing the Court has declined to change the basic rule that “Motive does not matter”. Here is a link to the hearing transcript – Link Here-.

Morrisons will have one more go I expect, an appeal to the Supreme Court.

What does the team think? The law is I suppose an attempt to structure acceptable behaviours. It is not true to say that the aim of jurisprudence is to make life fair for everyone, but certainly fairness comes into it, if only because manifest “unfairness” might be hard to define but easier to recognise, and ultimately can lead to public dissent, rioting and revolution.

Not that one person’s fairness is not another one’s unfairness. Certainly Morrisons feel it is unfair, that they may be facing pay-outs of millions for the behaviour of a criminal whose only aim was to make them pay out millions.

But the people whose data, which should have been kept safe, has been published openly onto the internet, will also feel it is unfair if Morrisons’ Appeal is successful, because that will mean that the only redress will be whatever they can get out of Skelton, who is in jail. So good luck with suing him for millions he presumably hasn’t got.

It seems to me that breaches of GDPR need to be taken out of the scope of the laws of vicarious liability.

If Parliament thinks that Morrisons have actually done something wrong [and remember, the Courts have enquired fully and don’t think it has] then Parliament should define that culpable behaviour.

Seems to me also that the whole concept of vicarious liability was originally to enable co-workers or the public to get compensation when they otherwise would not have been able to, in the context of a world which was much simpler and when the idea that a malicious keystroke on a computer could have consequences of the sort now facing Morrisons, was the stuff of science fiction.

But it is not science fiction now, and in my view we really don’t want to encourage economic terrorists whether idiots like Skelton or more ideologically driven idiots or enemies to get into jobs where they can bring down our country’s biggest economic engines, now do we?

That’s a bit of a gloomy thought. Cheer up – Link Here-

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Enduring Powers. Good Idea? Bad Idea? You Decide.

Enduring Powers. Good Idea? Bad Idea? You Decide.

This week I am thinking about Enduring Powers of Attorney. Are they a good idea?

The point, as they are intended, is that creating a power of attorney will enable another person you know and trust to look after you both physically and financially if a time should come when you are unable to care for yourself.

So most people think these are documents to be prepared in old age, when you are old and doddery but still with few marbles left.

But the expression is, – if you want to make God laugh, make plans.

So anyone who thinks that they have a good fifty years left before they need to think about making an Enduring power of attorney has never heard of road traffic accidents, brain damaging strokes, early onset dementia – and knows that they will for ever continue to enjoy playing Rugby or skiing off-piste with all the benefits of a charmed life immune from disaster.

That being nonsense, right there is the argument for making an Enduring Power of Attorney today, however old you are.

So do it today, yes?

Or, on the other hand, not?

You may have seen the remarks of the senior judge of the Court of Protection Denzil Lush, the subject of my earlier Blog – Link Here- who surprised many last year when he said that he personally would never give an Enduring Power of Attorney to anyone.

His reasoning was, in my translation, – if you choose your best mate or near relative to be your Attorney when you need one, you are doing so in many cases perhaps too thoughtlessly.

“Will you look after me if I need a carer?” is a question inviting the answer –”Yes, We’re mates, of course I will”. Same with “If you win the lottery will you send a few hundred thousand pounds my way?” – “Course I would mate”.

Perhaps the realities of either question are not really being considered. In neither case is the likelihood of winning the lottery, or going into a severe decline, actually taken too seriously.

So when the Attorney is needed to start actually caring maybe ten years after the Deed was signed -– s/he might be a senior Director of a Business two hundred miles away with a busy life, their own kids and family to care for. They may feel honour bound to try to do the job, but they may no longer be the right person. And yet if the Power of Attorney has named them, the Court of Protection will feel its hands are tied, and will appoint them as Guardian because that is what the Grantor – who is now “the Patient” wrote down.

Or worse, just as a newly lottery-enriched millionaire may now feel that perhaps the thoughtless promise to share the win was, with hindsight over-generous, so the appointed Attorney may find that with hindsight the thoughtless promise to help out is a source of regret or even resentment.

What Judge Lush is saying I think, is that he would back the Court of Protection nine times out of ten, to appoint a more appropriate Guardian at the time care is actually needed, against the choice made by an actual patient before disaster struck.

And a perusal of the decisions of the Court of Protection certainly show that our society is not entirely made up by selfless saints.

Here is one – Link Here- the dry unemotional words of the Court report spell out the shocking facts very clearly. “He begrudges her even having her hair tinted”. Nice.

If you like your news more tabloid, here –Link Here- is the newspaper coverage.

So here we have a son who is basically thinking, the patient (my Mummy, she used to be) is a vegetable, why is she hanging on to life and incurring nursing home fees when I could be the owner of all of her money.

So he has decided to help himself to as much of her money as he can get his hands on.

One point which this report does seem to make is that an Enduring Attorney must look after the finances of the patient properly. So in this case, Martin was not entitled to pocket assets from the estate of his mother, who needed every penny to provide for her care.

But having said that, the duty of the Attorney is to act in the best interests of the Patient overall and not necessarily so far as possible to keep her money in the Bank.

Many people appear to have been surprised that in another case, the Court has allowed an Attorney to pay himself Six Million pounds of his mother’s money. The case report is here –Link Here-

The facts seem surprising at first glance only I think.

In the first case the lady’s total estate was worth well under £325,000.00 and if the patient lived for eight years more there would be nothing left to pay her nursing home. She needed every penny and the Attorney should be viewed as behaving disgracefully – The Judge says his behaviour was ”repugnant” – for taking some £120,000.00 to spend on himself.

In the other, the patient owned assets of over £11 million, was living in comfort with a life expectancy of less than five years. She had been financially astute before struck by dementia and had herself earlier given away a million pounds or so to take advantage of Inheritance Tax gift allowances. She did not need the six million, and if she had been able to, the Court agreed that she would have wanted to make the gift of it now and thereby avoid a tax bill on death after three years, potentially saving around £2.5 million pounds in tax.

In summary, you have to make your own mind up whether Judge Lush is correct. He says, don’t make a Deed of Power of Attorney, just rely on the Court to look after you and appoint a Guardian when you need one.

But he has seen, more than anyone else perhaps, so many of the cases which have gone wrong. Certainly many many cases have been just fine, if that word can describe a situation which is always very sad.

So make a decision, and if you’re going to make a Deed, do it before it’s too late. Song –Before It’s Too Late-

One conclusion that does seem to me to be inescapable, is that the Courts are very expensive and as has been the case through history, it is much easier to use the services they provide if you have a few million in the Bank.

Here at AtkinsonNotary we don’t charge millions, so, 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 and
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Marriage and Civil Partnership – Changes Coming. A Notary Muses.

Marriage and Civil Partnership – Changes Coming. A Notary Muses.

If we look back a hundred years – so within living memory – it was quite clear what being married meant. There were two parties, one of them a man and the other a woman. The man was the Head of the House. The woman was legally subject to the control of the man. All money she might have earned was treated for tax purposes as money earned by him. The land and property the woman might have owned before she married, became the man’s on the marriage day.

So quite apart from the illegality of homosexuality in England at that time, the idea of two persons of the same sex being married to each other simply had no meaning. Marriage was about money and control, from a legal point of view.

By year 2000, all of the above had gone. Except that a marriage could still only take place between a man and a woman.

What a marriage actually was legally and indeed politically, however, had changed completely and today it seems to me to be – what? A public statement of commitment? A romantic ideal? A tax saving relationship? Something to do with religion?

Let’s just stay away from metaphysics and keep our eyes on the money.

Marriage is a tax saving relationship. Income tax marriage allowance, some pensions benefits on death of a spouse, the ability to share assets providing capital gains and thereby doubling the tax allowance, and huge Inheritance tax advantages – all available to a spouse or widow/er.

So in 2004 all of these tax advantages were made available to same-sex couples too. It had seemed to prevailing opinions, unfair that these very practical benefits should be available to parties to a marriage but unavailable to people who were totally committed to each other, but could not get married for reason of gender.

So civil partnerships for same sex relationships came into being.

That’s all fine then.

But things moved on. Public opinion and human rights rules persuaded the lawmakers that marriage should be available to everyone and since 2014 same-sex couples can marry.

OK that’s fine too.

But it has created an oddity. Now, same-sex couples choose to marry, or choose to become civil partners. But – An opposite sex couple can marry, or stay single, but they cannot become civil partners.

It might seem obvious to many that civil partnerships were intended to allow a form of marriage which did not offend too much those of more traditional views and sensibilities. That didn’t last long did it?

But surely, now that anyone can marry, there is really no remaining point to the whole civil partnerships thing? A legal creation which has outlived its need or usefulness?

Trouble is, not everyone who is a member of a civil partnership actually wanted to get married – and now they are quite happy as they are. And if civil partnership were to be abolished? Well it can’t happen retrospectively can it? And whilst possible, it might well be seen to be a retrograde step if a Government were to announce that after a future random date no further civil partnerships could be entered into.

So whether or not this is counter-intuitive, the plan announced now by Theresa May is not to abolish civil partnership but, quite the opposite, to extend them so that a couple who are mixed-sex can become civil partners.

Who will do this? That is a matter for speculation, a game we can all play. Perhaps, couples who are “anti-religious”? Anyone else?

Let’s have another look at those tax advantages.

I suspect it does happen, that men and women presently marry each other because they are close friends or maybe run a business together, even though they live in separate homes or even separate cities. But many others in that position would be put off by the social presumption that a marriage must be a sexual relationship.

And above all, remember in England that actual marriage, when entered into by opposite-sex partners, is voidable – can be annulled – on the grounds of “non-consummation”.

The other two arrangements – Civil partnerships between same sex couples and Marriage between same-sex couples – cannot be annulled for this reason. Whether or not the partners in these arrangements have sexual intercourse is of no concern to the law.

It seems to me unthinkable that the proposed future civil partnerships, between opposite sex couples, will require a sexual relationship.

Which if I am correct, opens the door to opposite-sex civil partnerships being entered into between a man and a woman who would not in a million years have sex with each other, but who have a close relationship whether emotional or financial, and who would like to be able to leave large sums of money to the survivor after first death, without having any tax to pay.

Maybe a widow and a widower who certainly don’t want to marry again, but who have found companionship, a mutual love of spending time together.

So Hooray

One last thought – Perhaps the people who might most benefit from being in a civil partnership and might be the keenest to enter into one for tax reasons, are still unable to do so.

Just as a brother and a sister cannot marry each other, so a brother and a brother or an uncle and a nephew– and a sister and a sister or an aunt and a niece – are excluded from same sex civil partnerships. I cannot believe that this exclusion will be removed from opposite sex [brother and sister, uncle niece etc.] civil partnerships either.

So Boo.

Let’s wait and see whether it happens. Seems to me the Government has more on its plate to worry about just at the moment.

Here’s a song for couples

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GDPR Again, and One Unintended Consequence.

GDPR Again, and One Unintended Consequence.

Before the start of the new GDPR on 25th May 208, I wrote a couple of blogs about the preparation that all businesses would be wise to have made.

Link Here

Remind me what’s -GDPR? – It’s the Europe-wide General Data Protection Regulation.

The main purpose of the new Regulation is to protect data from misuse. To stop data about person A from being mishandled by person or organisation B who holds that data and to codify the rules as to what may, and what may not, be done with data held. And the fines which can be imposed for mishandling data have been massively increased. That is, MASSIVELY increased.

These have been the reason we have all been receiving emails along the lines of “Don’t Lose Touch – We Love You” – from companies which are seeking your consent to continue to send you advertising.

They think that they may fall foul of the new regulation if they continue to bombard you with emails without justification. And no doubt the easiest – most incontrovertible – justification for them to enter into their records and databases, is specific consent.

In fact, in many cases the new rules do not mean that no-one who has not positively requested an email can be sent an email.

If there is already a basis for contact between the sender and the receiver, for example between a Notary with his client, or colleagues in the provision of legal services then there is a legitimate interest to both me and you in sending these Blogs. –your own receipt of this email.

Your interest is to be updated as to legal matters relating [if sometimes obliquely] to the world of Notarial affairs, my interest is to disseminate my views on such matters and of course thereby maintain contact with you.

These emails are not the main thrust of the GDPR in any case – and if you decide you don’t want future emails then you can unsubscribe from mailings.

What GDPR is mainly about is to punish holders of data about you if they are careless with it. Or more precisely to frighten them so much about the consequences of losing or mishandling data that they don’t make mistakes in the first place.

If they do let your data get into the hands of criminals, you can be caused great damage. This might be financial – many people are careless with passwords. So if a, say, supermarket website has your passwords and loses them to a thief, these might be the same passwords you use for your bank account.

Or if a medical centre or police authority get hacked, details of a person’s mental health issues or criminal record could give rise to blackmail or the ruining of reputations.

As is usual with any new rules and regulations, there are unexpected consequences.

Here is one: The cost of obtaining medical records and notes from a Doctor.

If you have suffered an accident or an assault or otherwise been hurt, proving the extent of your injury is an important part of any claim you may want to make. Any insurance company will require to see medical evidence that you are hurt.

It used to be that you would have to pay your doctor about £50 or so – sometimes a lot more in a complicated case – to get your medical notes released.

Now, as the person (“the Subject”) about whom your Doctor (“the Data Holder”) holds those notes you have the right under the GDPR to be provided with all of those notes free of charge. It is called a Subject Access Request – SAR.

This is causing a lot of fuss in professional circles. Doctors are having to do a lot of work for no money. It is not just a matter of pressing “print” on their computers. Your notes may include reference to other people. Those references will have to be deleted – redacted – or else in complying with an SAR from one patient, the Doctor will be breaching GDPR in respect of another person’s data. Complicated and time consuming.

It is possible that Doctors are, and will be, now required to prepare more SARs than they ever were, even for people who have no injuries or potential court cases. Some people just like to read their own medical records, and now it is free, well, there you go.

Then there is the misapprehension reported in the Law Society Gazette, that some Doctors think that Solicitors are now getting these Medical reports free but are continuing to charge their clients the same £50 as before. Which is nonsense of course, but unhappy folks sometime do talk nonsense.

The reality is that GDPR is making Doctors work on preparing their reports for no money.

Doctors have no choice. They cannot opt out of holding the patients’ data, it is essential that a Doctor must know a patient’s medical history and the idea of keeping that data in their heads or in a card index system is a non-runner. So they must accept that they are Data Holders.

And if they are Data Holders, they are subject to the GDPR. It’s the Law.

In fact the saving here is entirely to the benefit of Insurance Companies. If no money is paid to Doctors for records, then the Insurance won’t have to reimburse claimants for those payments.

Ironic that, since it is Insurance Companies by and large, who refuse to believe that anyone is an honest claimant who is actually injured, and who are the only party demanding to see the medical records in the first place.

I don’t think it was ever actually the intention of the GDPR drafters that Doctors should be required to work harder for less money, for the benefit of Insurance Companies.

Unintended consequences. Here’s a Wiki link.

I didn’t know about the Great Plague measure of 1665 in London. Due to the incorrect belief that the dogs and cats in the city were carrying the Plague, they were killed on sight. In fact it was the rats that had the plague, and the dogs and cats would have killed the rats, given the chance of, you know, being alive themselves.

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Certify Your Degree Chapter 2 – Original or Copy? Open letter to Southampton University. Maybe others.

Certify Your Degree – Original or Copy? Open letter to Southampton University. Maybe others.

Last Weeks’s Blog dealt with the ins and outs of the Notarisation of University Degrees and other Educational Certificates.

This is – or should be – the process by which a Notary checks that your Certificate is genuine, then endorses a copy of it accordingly, before sending the marked copy for Apostille and/or other Consular stamps.

And I say copy – usually it is a copy. Because by making and marking a copy, this leaves the student holding his original, unmarked, Degree certificate.

However, some countries specifically require that it is the ORIGINAL award certificate which must be notarised and submitted to prospective employers. The United Arab Emirates often make this a requirement and there are others.

Then what is a student to do? If they want the job, they’d better do as they are told.

So they go ahead and their original degree certificate, notarially marked and verified, goes to be stored in the records of UAE.

Next, a few years down the line the student may wish to take a job in a different country.
And that different country requires a notarised verified copy of the original degree certificate.

But hang on, you gave that to the UAE and you can’t get it back. Or, even if you can, the original certificate has got notary stamps on it from years ago and the stamp of the FCO and of the United Arab Emirates Consulate and that may be unacceptable to the country where you want to work now.

So the student will need to apply to the University, for a clean replacement Degree certificate. Shouldn’t be a problem.

As soon as you even think the words – “this shouldn’t be a problem”, you just know there will be a problem.

Here is a link to the website of Southampton University – Link here –

Specifically, we are told “If the original certificate has been lost, stolen or damaged, you can apply for a replacement. This will state ‘Replacement Certificate issued’ at the bottom of the certificate, and will have a different audit number which will automatically invalidate the original certificate.”

You would hope a University would be careful and think matters through a little more cogently than that. Not to say, more helpfully to its students.

Southampton seems to be saying – you cannot have a replacement certificate if you already hold the original. Unless it accepts that by being notarised, stamped by FCO and the UAE consulate, it has been “damaged”,

Has it? I don’t think so.

But there is surely a wider issue.

If I own a house or a car I do not expect the Land Registry or DVLA to quibble about issuing proof – office copies- v5 – as often as I see fit to request it. Nor would they.

If I spend five years or seven getting a degree or PHD, the degree is mine. By which I mean the qualification, not the piece of paper.

Students having given the matter all that time and energy to obtain a Degree and paying the University several thousand pounds these days to get it, it is surely unacceptable if the University believes that “title” to the degree vests in the sheet of paper?

If their “Replacement” footmark is not intended in some way to de-value the replacement certificate, then what is it for? Who in their view should care whether it is a replacement?

Perhaps the case could be put to the Vice Chancellor that the University owes to its students unqualified assistance in proving that they hold the qualification which the University has awarded.

If it seeks to impose conditions inconsistent with requirements of the potential employers of those students abroad [however misguided in our eyes] it does the student a significant disservice and eventually if words gets round that any particular University is obstructive it may eventually find itself short of students?

Nor do I understand how the issue of a replacement can actually “invalidate the original” whatever Southampton University might say on its website. If I have a degree then I do have a degree. So how can the first certificate be “invalid?”

I suppose they mean that they will not confirm the original to be genuine if it is thereafter copied to them for verification. Are they entitled to do that? It could cost a student hugely. Could a student not sue them if they did?

Funny old world, isn’t it? Link Here – Bit of a Nightmare?

Don’t worry, we will help – 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 and

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website

Notarising Educational Degrees and other Certificates.

Educational Degrees and other Certificates.

Here is the scenario – After a long and hard and expensive slog finally a student is awarded a degree. Fantastic, I can go and work in China, or USA, UAE, wherever, because now I have the qualification I need.

And, on the day that the University exam results are released, chances are that the University will publish them in the newspapers.

So it shouldn’t be too hard for me to certify, when the new employers in South Korea, Qatar or anywhere want me, as a Notary, to confirm for them that you have a genuine degree.

I just phone the University and ask, right?

Wrong, actually.

Because the University which was quite happy to print the fact of your Degree in the Newspapers last year, has now come over all coy. Ooh, deary me, it thinks. GDPR. Computerised private Data. Data Protection Act. Information Commissioners. Mummy, help me.

The sad fact is that after a student has worked years and years to get a qualification, now the University is most reluctant to assist and confirm that the degree is actually genuine.

And even worse, if the degree which the student claims to have is actually a forgery, the university is reluctant to tell me that either.

Anyway, as a Notary I am very used to all this nonsense and I can in fact verify your degree. We just have to negotiate the various obstacles and barriers the Universities have created because of their misunderstanding of the legal differences in status between their records of your degree and their records of, say, your disciplinary hearings or medical history.

But in the light of the fact that it is actually quite difficult to get at the truth, I am aware that many Notaries and nearly all solicitors when they are instructed [and Solicitors have no standing in foreign countries anyway, and should not be instructed] are bypassing the business of verification altogether.

They do this by taking your certificate, copying it, and writing on it that the copy “is a true copy of the original document from which it was made”.

Of course this is pointless because if the original certificate is a fraud, a fake, then the genuine copy of it is a genuine copy of a fake. And the foreign employer doesn’t want to see a copy of a fake piece of paper – it wants to know whether you really are a Doctor.

[There are some exceptions to this general rule, if the end user will be dealing with verification through its own agency]

But in all other cases, the risk you run with doing it that way is that you are setting up problems for further down the line. The certification may be rejected – perhaps days before you are due to travel. Or perhaps after you have arrived, so that you are suspended from working.

So, with AtkinsonNotary, there are no weasel words. We do not certify your copies “this is a true copy of the original” and leave it at that, which is actually valueless to the end-user who is still completely in the dark as to the status of that original.

When you instruct us we do the job right, and your certificate will say “This is a true copy of the original document. The original document is GENUINE as I have verified. The University of xxxx is an accredited Institution of Education in England”

We can then get all additional stamps rewired by the end-user:- the Foreign Office Apostille and Consular legalization, whatever is needed.

Your choice. Go elsewhere, buy cheaply, buy often! Or I would suggest, instruct me, do it right, do it once.

Of course there are all sorts of other issues that can arise and we do have the expertise to resolve them. You might be surprised how often the Universities do not write the full name of the student into the certificate for example and I have more than once seen the name spelled incorrectly and the student had not even noticed. No matter, we will sort it. In fact, to use a little Yorkshire – it’ll be reet.

Here’s an appropriate song – 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 and

Or alternatively please telephone on 0113 8160116 or 07715608747. Please also feel free to visit our website