Brexit – New Freedoms / New Dangers / Off-Road Diversions.

Brexit – New Freedoms / New Dangers / Off-Road Diversions.

No-one likes being told they have to spend more on Vehicle Insurance. So in 2017 or so there was a general Boo-Hooing particularly among those keen on leaving the EU, about the case of Mr. Vnuk in Slovenia.

Mr. V was working in a farmyard up a ladder, or at least he was until he was knocked off it. He was knocked off his ladder by a colleague who was reversing a tractor and trailer and who presumably either misjudged the turn or didn’t see the ladder. In any event there is no suggestion this was a deliberate assault.

Now the tractor was insured so Mr. Vnuk issued proceedings for damages against the insurance company.

And he lost.

The Insurers successfully told the Court – We insure the tractor on the public road when it is used on the public road for example moving from one field to another. But not when it is pottering around a private farmyard – off the public road.

And fair’s fair, That is indeed what the insurance policy said.

But on the other hand Slovenia is within the EU where Article 3(1) of the First Directive on Motor Insurance (72/166/EEC).says that the owner of any vehicle has to insure it when it is “in use”.

So next, the Slovenian judge sent the case off to the Court of Justice of the European Union, to find out whether the actual insurance policy was legal.

And the CJEU said no, insurance companies must not seek to evade the European law. If you own a vehicle you must buy insurance and the insurance must cover the “use” of the vehicle. Use for every purpose and in every place.

So because UK was in the EU, it has therefore followed that ruling and at present all vehicles require compulsory third party insurance for all use including upon private land.

Bad news for drivers. Because insurance premiums went up.  And drivers were a bit miffed. “I never drive off-road, so why should I be forced to get this cover?” “Do I need cover for my mobility scooter in case I run over some-one’s foot in the supermarket?” “Or cover for my ride-on lawnmower, with its vorpal blades which snicker-snack?”

And even more, what about grass roots motor sport?

Typically, a local farmer allows the use of his fields and woods for Trials Bike competition. A traditional Yorkshire field event but inherently dangerous. The fears were that no-one could afford the additional insurance premiums and the sport would wither.

It does seems a reasonable stance, to view all this as just more Bad News from the EU.

Roll on Brexit eh?

But what’s this – this “Bad News”, was the only Good News for one recreational hiker Mr Lewis.

Because in 2013 Mr Lewis had been walking across private fields when the Farmer, Tindale, driving his uninsured 4×4, chased him and eventually collided with him. Which nearly killed him. Certainly it was not Tindale’s fault that he didn’t kill him, whether or not the actual collision was intended.

He certainly did ruin Mr Lewis’s life. With an injured spinal cord he is now tetraplegic and suffers irreversible brain damage.

So the issue then for Mr Lewis’s family and carers was to find compensation adequate to provide round-the-clock care and some quality of life so far as possible. Tindale is a waste of time for that. Nowhere near enough money to fund all that.

The State has provided a safety net where folk are injured by vehicles which ought to have been insured. The Motor Insurers Bureau. And whilst the MIB tried to wriggle, the High Court has now spoken, – The MIB must provide Mr Lewis with compensation.

Here is the case report *Link Here*

The decision was appealed to the Supreme Court which said very quickly “Permission to appeal be refused because the application does not raise an arguable point of law. In relation to the point of European Law said to be raised by or in response to the application it is not necessary to request the Court of Justice to give any ruling the Court’s existing jurisprudence already provides a sufficient answer.”

But remember, the MIB are liable only where the vehicle “ought to have been insured”.

And now here we are in Brexit land. Which means that these pesky EU rulings can be left behind and once again the use of vehicles on private land need not be insured. Which, according to the Government representative Grant Shapps will mean that every British driver will pay £50.00 less for annual car insurance. 

And by the way, He didn’t mention Mr Lewis.

What will you spend your £50.00 on when your Insurance Company gives it back? Building a runway for your flying pigs? *Link Here*

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

Property in Spain. Life, History and Spanish Bureaucracy.

(c) freedigitalphotos by artzsamui

Property in Spain. Life, History and Spanish Bureaucracy. They are all just one thing after another.

In 2017 Dr. Liam Fox said that sorting things out for UK life after Brexit should be “one of the easiest things to achieve in human history”. And more presciently, that the only reason it might not be, would be if “politics got in the way of economics”.

I can’t list all the ways that politics has in fact done exactly that. But one of them is enough for a Blog, and others can be the subject of plenty more this year no doubt.

That one example is, buying in Spain.

It was always understood that post-Brexit there would be possible new Spanish visa or residency requirements, and new different tax levels for rental income, and perhaps different inheritance tax levels for EU citizens and for Brits.

But who expected that the Spanish Royal Decree 689 pf 1978 regulations of areas and facilities of National Defence would cause a whammy? –Link here – Here it is

Since 1975 there have been Spanish areas with restricted access by foreigners. No doubt that is the case in all countries, and we English know we are not going to get planning permission to build in the middle of Salisbury Plain. Nor would we want to, what with all the tanks and guns and soldiers.

But there aren’t any nice seaside houses in the MOD tank and war training areas of Salisbury Plain.

In Spain, the relevant areas include residential areas of the Costas and of Majorca and Minorca. It affects thousands of towns and cities. And I see now, Tenerife and the Canaries. –Link Here – to a Tenerife newspaper article. And until Brexit, EU citizens were exempt from requiring “Military Certification” before being allowed to purchase homes there.

Don’t ask me to explain why EU citizens can be relied upon not to be foreign spies, or why British citizens could last year but not this. Or what can be seen through the wires surrounding a military zone which cannot be viewed from home on the satellite images of Google Earth, It’s politics remember.

So what has happened this year is that a significant number of UK citizens are having their Spanish property purchases delayed (and therefore all of the transactions in a linked chain of sales and purchases are delayed too) until a Military certificate can be obtained.

And not only delay, typically six months or so, but also expense. Purchasers are having to obtain Police record certificates, as if they were applying to teach vulnerable children rather than buy a holiday home, and the Notarisation requirements are more onerous and expensive.

And it could get worse. Because most Spanish purchase contracts are made with a stated completion date. And if you sign your contract in ignorance that the land is with a “military defence zone” you may commit yourself to something which is impossible, but which has steep financial penalties for defaulting.

There are several losers in this, obviously, all of the individuals who are having to cope with all this and everyone else in any linked chain, but perhaps the overall loser is the Spanish State. It wants British property owners. It wants their money. And if it makes it all just too much hassle to buy Spanish, we may just buy Portuguese instead.

On the other hand, if nothing here has put you off, here are two songs for the price of one, the –Steve Bent- and –The Fall- versions of “I’m going to Spain” Let’s hope it turns out fine.

And do please remember :- Louise and I are back at work, ready for you to contact us whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

Welcome to 2021. Thoughts on Freedoms under the Law.

Welcome to 2021. Thoughts on Freedoms under the Law. And the Blues.

On the day that President Biden is inaugurated and President Trump leaves office, I have been re-reading my Blog from the end of 2016. I didn’t understand what had just happened then, and I am none the wiser now (albeit four years or so better informed). Here it is *Link here*

So I will leave wiser heads than mine to comment about the USA and turn to consider what else has been going on.

I confess I am still pondering the concept of “propositions of Universal Acceptance” touched on in my November offering – *Link Here* – the view expressed by Judges that some actions or behaviours are so unarguably beyond the pale that there is absolutely no need for any Laws to make them illegal. **

I am not at all sure about that, it doesn’t seem very British does it? We Brits do tend to think that the basic rule is “it’s legal unless the Law bans it”.

(Not, as in other regimes:-


  • Germany – “you can’t do it unless the law says you can.”
  • Fascism – “Everything is compulsory unless we have banned it, and also everything is forbidden even if we do allow it.” Although at least that is clear, and less troubling than
  • the USA where the rule is “This is the Land of the Free – but good luck with that.”

(Perhaps the best attitude is the

  • French and Italian one – where “everything is allowed even it is forbidden”.

(And finally, I am told that in

  • Australia when something is against the law, everybody does it anyway just in order to find out why.)

Back to England. An inconsistency with the view that “anything which is universally accepted to be beyond the pale needs no laws to prohibit it” is to my mind found here *Link Here*

That’s right, it’s the Law against making Nuclear Explosions.

I quote:- “Any person who knowingly causes a nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.”  There we are, yes, there is an actual LAW.

So if you weren’t previously aware, please now put away all your enriched uranium and take up another hobby.

Of course, just because some acts which are universally accepted to be illegal do actually have laws against them, doesn’t mean that other non-universally accepted ones don’t.

Who of the liberty-loving free spirits amongst us has not been dissuaded from driving cattle through the streets of London between the hours of ten in the morning and seven in the evening only by our knowledge of the *Link Here* Metropolitan Streets Act of 1867?

And let’s not even consider the question of “handling fish in suspicious circumstances” – The Salmon Act of 1986 *Link Here*

OK, so this blog is not perhaps up there with the insight and profundity of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights *Link* but I offer it for you to please take from it what you can.

To be serious finally, freedom is a spiritual concept as least as much as a legal one and here is Champion Jack Dupree who survived a harsh orphaned childhood in poverty with no education yet he lived a free life if anyone did, notwithstanding two years spent as a Japanese prisoner of war (and ten years in Halifax West Yorkshire) – “All we want to do is live like people” *Link here*

And do please remember :- Louise and I are back at work, ready for you to contact us whenever you need Notarial certification or Legalisation for your Documents– at – or phone me on 0113 816 0116 (internationally 0044 113 8160116)

** Beyond the pale. A pale is the stake supporting fencing and thus providing a safe boundary within the pale. (Remember the awful fate of the lovers Polindor and Flostella in 1657 who “both dove-like roved forth beyond the pale to planted Myrtle-walk”?  Me neither, so thanks Google. Anyway P &F wandered off together beyond the pale where bad men later exercised “many a dire killing thrust”. So there it is.)

Did you know that we can notarise your documents for the USA? Louise explains

Did you know that we can notarise your documents for the USA? Louise explains

We do get asked on occasions whether we can notarise and deal with documents for the US – the simple answer is YES we can.*

There are many parts of the US which do not seem to know this. The landmass of the USA is of course huge and many citizens do not travel outside it. Accordingly many law firms and real estate agents have little if any experience of dealing with documents to be signed outside of the USA.

That is why we often see instances where the US advisor has told English residents that they can only execute Deeds if they travel back to the States or otherwise attend the US Embassy in London. Which they possibly think is no difficult thing, since they have seen the world atlas and know that England is very small; presumably all of us can just walk round to the London Embassy in half an hour or so!

This is partly true – yes you can attend the US embassy in London if you wish but of course London is not a two-minute drive away from us up here in the North and anyway you would need to arrange an appointment with the Embassy and arrange travel to get to London.

It can be a long wait to obtain an appointment; the US embassy has more pressing matters to deal for example dealing with US citizens who are currently in the UK who have lost their passports, or had an accident or got in trouble with the police etc..– they really don’t want to have to give time to see people who require to sign documents for a house sale or purchase, or transfer of ownership of a car or dealing with bank closure forms etc.. – this is not urgent business as far as they are concerned.

So you will find that your US Consular appointment may be issued for weeks or even longer hence, whilst your realtor in Florida or wherever has sent the papers at the last minute and wants them back this week!. Also the typical package of papers for sales in Florida particularly may need five or six notarial certifications. For each one, the US Consulate will charge $50.00. (And please note that AtkinsonNotary will charge based upon time taken and not charge for each document separately)

What our clients do not get told is that they have another option – yes either attend the US Embassy if you can obtain an appointment in good time and are able to travel to get to the Embassy OR, you can deal with the necessary documents before an English Notary Public. This is usually much more convenient, easy to arrange and you do not have to travel to London because the good news is we are here in Leeds and are able to assist (there are around 750 Notaries in England – but however please note that not all Notaries in England carry insurance to deal with documents for the US – but WE DO.)

And note that the USA Embassy itself recommends you do this, see this link and scroll to “Notarization Through The British System”

The USA as a Federation, and the United Kingdom, have both signed up to the Hague Convention which means that documents to the States to be signed in England can be executed before an English Notary Public (as long as that Notary carries the necessary insurance to deal with documentation for the US) and once notarised should then be sent to the British Foreign Office to obtain an “Apostille” stamp.

I have written on previous occasions about what an “Apostille” is (see link here for one of them, or go to our blog website and find the others by entering “Apostille” into the search field) but in short it is a stamp issued by the British to confirm that the document has been dealt with correctly by a fully qualified Notary and that his/her signature, stamp and seal are genuine. So that therefore what he/she says can be relied upon in the foreign jurisdiction – basically it is an insurance policy so the US can safely rely upon the document and if by any means a criminal should successfully obtain an Apostille onto a forged document then then any losses incurred in relation to relying on the document will be a burden upon the British State (i.e. of course, the Tax payer!)

Having said that there are many States in the US that do not actually request that an Apostille be obtained, they are quite content with the document(s) just being notarised.

To end – If you have documents which you require notarising and maybe Apostilling for use in USA then we can help, YOU DO NOT NEED TO GO THE USA EMBASSY IN LONDON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO. (And I suspect that the Embassy would be pleased if you didn’t!)

Song here, for Fall fans only perhaps *Leave the Capital*

Please do get in touch with us if you would like any further guidance in relation to documents for use in the USA. or for use around the world .

Contact me Louise Morley, or Chris Atkinson, at AtkinsonNotary Limited, E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email or via the website

*the less simple answer, is that actually there are a very few US documents which cannot be notarised by an English notary and will need the Embassy. In the main, these relate to US TAX filings.

Human Sacrifice and Financial Support For Family Members. [Children Are Not Just For Christmas?]

Human Sacrifice and Financial Support For Family Members. [Children Are Not Just For Christmas?]

An interesting case in September this year. Sometimes the Court is asked to give its help in cases where the initial response of most of us might be – “that’s just ridiculous.”

As the Judge put it – This is a most unusual case. Indeed, so far as I am aware, and the very experienced counsel who appear before me do not dispute this, the case is unprecedented.

“Certainly, the researches of counsel have identified no decision directly in point. The applicant’s own description is that his applications are “novel.”

“I suspect that the initial reaction of most experienced family lawyers would be a robust disbelief that there is even arguable substance to any of it.”

Again, another judge is quoted as saying that sometimes – “the absence of authority only illustrates the tendency for propositions of universal acceptance to be difficult to support by reference to authority.”

He means that some things are not stated in the laws of the Country because, – why would anyone need to write down what is already obvious and right?.

Of course, a “proposition of universal acceptance” will vary from community to community, and over the years.

None of us in Yorkshire believe that in order to keep the Sun moving across the sky and preserve our very lives, it is necessary to feed Huitzilopochtli with blood and torn-out human hearts still beating. (Well – except perhaps in Sheffield – but I never go there).

And again, perhaps that’s why it rains here all the time.

The need for human sacrifice is no longer a “proposition of universal acceptance”. And yet, in Aztec society it was.

Wikipedia tells me that up to 1% of the population per year were killed for the sun god. And whilst this is all over now, it only stopped in 1512. The same century that William Shakespeare was born.

In geological terms, it’s practically yesterday. In 1487, over 80 thousand people were sacrificed.

Another proposition of “universal acceptance” for hundreds of years in Christian Countries was that two persons of the same sex could not marry.

Not because it was against the law specifically – There wasn’t a law against it in England. The 1949 Marriage Act [link here] had a whole list of persons whom a Man could not marry. For example, his Mother or Daughter. But the entire list had one characteristic – they were all female.

Which would seem to mean, that in 1950 in England a man could marry a man. Or perhaps even his own father?

But though there wasn’t a law against it, in a country where sex between males would result in social rejection and indeed imprisonment until the 1960s there hardly needed to be, it was just – universally accepted.

And yet what is “universally accepted” now? In the space of a few hundred years we have gone from believing universally that human sacrifice is clearly necessary, and that criminalisation of homosexuality is clearly necessary, to believing the exact opposite.

So sometimes when we live in the forest, we can’t see any trees.

What’s this case then?

It is the snappily named – for reasons of anonymity- FS v JS and RS [2020] EWFC 63.

In it, a 41 year-old man (called “F”) brought an application to the Courts for an order that his wealthy parents should be required to pay him money for his food accommodation and lifestyle.

His parents are both alive and live together happily. It seems that they have got fed up with their son, or at least with his lifestyle choices.

The evidence given is that F is a “vulnerable person”. He has mental health difficulties but not of the kind often referred to as “learning disabilities”. Indeed he is very bright. He is a qualified solicitor and has a master’s degree in Taxation and is now studying for Chartered Tax Advisor qualification.

It may be that he is perhaps preferring to live a life of learning and studying: – at any rate he is unemployed and has been for years. He lives in his parents’ London Flat whilst they live in Dubai. The parents pay for the utilities.

They seem to have got fed up with him in his “feathered nest” and they think he is old enough at 41 to stop living on their charity.

He says that his parents have been nurturing his dependency on them for the last 20 years or soso that they should not be allowed to throw him to the wolves of his own resources.

One can see that it must come as a shock, but most of us would perhaps say to him – in the words of Battery Sergeant Major Williams – “Oh Dear. BOO HOO. Never Mind”.

At any rate, in this society, here and now, the tenet “universally accepted” is that parents are allowed to require that their children fend for themselves. I can’t say exactly at what age, except that it is probably a good few years earlier than 41.

At first glance as “nonsensical” as the proposition that, there being no law against it, a Man might marry his Father, at second glance, well, maybe there is something here.

We are not told the nature of F’s vulnerability. There may be very good reasons, physical or mental, why he does not feel able to get a job. The court case didn’t get that far. The question stalled at whether an adult offspring can compel his parents to give him money.

The law is, NO, he can’t. His parents can both be rich as Croesus and he can be homeless on the street and it’s not their problem. And that is where we are today with our “universal acceptance”. And maybe in years to come we won’t think that way, I don’t know.

After all, even today if the parents were paying for his accommodation and support whilst he is studying, but were themselves divorcing, then the law recognises that divorce would impact on a child of the family even at age 41 and give that person rights in relation to maintenance claims. At least the right to be heard in court even if the attempt was turned down

So his argument to the Court was:- why should the fact that his parents are happily married impact to remove or nullify rights which the adult “child” would have if they were not?

Well, the Courts have considered, and they have rejected the claimed concept that parents are “locked in“ by law to maintaining their adult children, even if they have done so for several years. Or, as pleaded, specifically BECAUSE they have done so and thereby led him to believe that the support would never stop.

And if that decision was previously based upon only upon “universal assumption”, no longer.

As the Judge said – quoting the “grim humour” of another Judge in an early judgment in a similarly novel claim,

“It may be that there is no direct authority on this point; certainly none has been cited. If so, it is high time that there was such authority; and NOW THERE IS!”.

Here is the judgment [link here]

Of course, the reality is that nobody has won. By the time a family is fighting itself in the courts, it’s too late for winners.

And will we always think that parents need not maintain their vulnerable adult children? Give it five hundred years, we may think it’s as barbarous as those sacrifices.

A song about irreversible changes [Crossing the Rubicon Link]

As ever – our message to you is, for documents for use around the world do contact me or Louise Morley here at AtkinsonNotary E7 Joseph’s Well Leeds LS3 1AB, phone 0113 8160116 and email or via the website

Authenticating Documents for Overseas. It’s what Notaries Do.

Authenticating Documents for Overseas. It’s what Notaries Do.

Louise explains:-
Many of our clients approach us seeking assistance in authenticating their documents in order that they can be relied upon and used overseas.

Here are some fairly random examples:

Greece – It is a requirement of Greece that all men between the age of 19 and 45 with Greek citizenship or those designated by Greek authorities as “being of Greek origin, ancestry or descent” — regardless of country of birth, current citizenship, passport or domicile — must serve mandatory military service of: 9 months regular duty in the army.

However what if you are currently studying abroad, say in sunny England? – well then you will need to produce to the Greek authorities proof of this – usually clients come to see us with a letter issued by the University confirming that the individual is a currently studying with them.

Our function is to verify that the letter issued by the University is genuine and thereafter warrant to the Greeks that it is authentic and the information upon it can be relied upon.

Another example;

To verify to a foreign jurisdiction that a company registered in England and Wales is active and of good standing. If you are a business in England and Wales and wish to trade abroad or carry out business overseas etc… then it will usually be a requirement that the foreign jurisdiction will need to know that the company registered in England and Wales is of good standing and possibly who the names Directors are of that company.

More often what is required is to produce a document issued by Companies House called a “Certificate of Good Standing”.

What the certificate confirms is the full company name, address, company number, Directors, company secretaries and of course whether it is of good standing (all filings presently up to date).

However the foreign jurisdiction will usually require that the certificate of good standing be notarised as well by a Notary to warrant that that is genuine and the information contained in it can be relied upon.

Europe – we often get asked to Apostille British Birth Certificates, Death Certificates or Marriage Certificates. Again this is to warrant the fact of a birth, death or marriage to another country. Such certificates are issued by the General Records Office where the event took place. The certificate will bear the signature of a Registrar – if you are required to produce such a document abroad then again we can obtain this for you if required, notarise it as genuine and obtain any further legalisation stamps which that country may require.

Personal Identity checks – again we can prepare certified notarised copies of identification documents to be submitted overseas. In relation to a passport we can prepare a notarised copy of it and confirm that it is a true copy and we can even add, (only if we meet you face to face of course), that the photograph is a true likeness. The same goes for Driving Licences and so on..

Our function as Notaries is that we can independently verify documents for use overseas, whether that be a personal document or a company document.

As Notaries we carry the necessary insurance to cover by third parties relying on certifications we give. Since authentication of such matters abroad is not within the remit of Solicitors, any Solicitor doing this would not carry such professional insurance.

This is the international process, this is why a Notary is required.

As Notaries we state facts and warrant information to the foreign jurisdiction. What we say will be accepted and relied upon abroad. A Notary is an international legal officer whose signature and seal is recognised in any country of the world.
Set out below are some of the documents, we have been asked to independently verify and notarise as genuine:

Degree/Diploma Certificates

Letters from Schools/Universities

Doctors Letters

Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificates, Death Certificates

Degree of Divorce Absolute

Criminal Record Checks

Corporate Agreements

ISO standard documents

Employment reference letters

Translations – (We can only deal with warranting translations if we obtain the translation ourselves.)

Identity checks

Tax Letters/Certificates of Residence

Company House documents

The list goes on…

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

What’s In A Name? What’s In A Can Of Wasabi Peas.

What’s In A Name? What’s In A Can Of Wasabi Peas.

So big questions first – what’s in Wasabi Peas? And if it’s not wasabi, how do you feel about that?

In England Wasabi peas are not at the top of most shopping lists, but Google gives me to understand that in USA they are quite the spicy snack. And now, it seems that someone in USA has read the small print on the label, and they are not happy bunnies because it turns out that the one ingredient missing therefrom, is the slightest hint of Wasabi.

So I do get it, yes, it said wasabi peas in BIG LETTERS, but the little letters said horseradish.

And half of me says – well that’s not right and something should be done. And the other half says Yes, but the can of peas cost about $5 like those lovely Rolox watches from Vietnam or Blackpool. And the third half of me says – yes but the peas come from the largest supermarkets in USA surely they should tell me the truth.

Anyway it seems that two Americans have taken a supermarket to court. They are suing for an award in damages, because, er , it’s just not right innit.

Where will that lead. Oat milk? Milk? – Wikipedia tells us “Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced in the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for infant mammals before they are able to digest other types of food.”

So Cow’s milk, is the same, but the specific mammal is bovine. OK Got it.

So clearly, Oat milk is the liquid stored in the mammary glands of oats, read to nurture baby oats?

No hang on, Oat Milk isn’t milk at all. Who knew?  Only everyone, that’s who.

What about white chocolate? Not a lot of chocolate in that is there? Cocoa solid? None per cent, actually.

In my enquiry online to find bedlinen, one well known national store offers fifty three different sheets. Of which only four contain actual linen.

Crabsticks? I mean, I must say that they are not actually made of poison, but you know – crab not so much.

But we are not children, we know this stuff.

The above is a list of some examples of where one word, often redolent of superior quality, is commonly used to describe something else which has little or nothing to do with the actual term. But we sort of go along with it.

But – are you up for buying a diamond ring from a jeweller and then being told “Oh yes of course it’s glass we just say it’s a diamond because it sounds better, but everyone knows we do that don’t they.”

So what have we got today, with the Wasabi peas?

Here is a recipe to make your own  – here is a recipe – . As you see, one of the ingredients in Wasabi peas is half a cup of freshly grated Wasabi. Yes I can see how that would be necessary.

Off to the internet. Wasabi is, we learn, the “most difficult plant to grow commercially” and costs over £190.00 per kilo.

Wasabi is related to Horseradish and its flavour is stronger and unique. But Wasabi loses its flavour quickly after it is grated so it is difficult to store. And actually Horseradish is very easy to grow and its flavour stays strong and isn’t too far off Wasabi – especially if you’ve never had the real stuff. And what’s this – Horseradish costs £8.50 a kilo so twenty times less than Wasabi.

So here is the USA court report – the big Wasabi scandal of 2020.

Let me take you back to late 2019 when Hilary Yothers (in California) and Zain Eisenberg (in New York) both bought tins of Hapi Products Inc. Wasabi peas. I cannot tell you whether these persons are related, or whether it is entirely co-incidental that they, nearly 3000 miles apart from each other and feeling esurient –link here-  popped into their respective shops and bought their respective snacks.

On the labelling on the package, the snack was described as Wasabi peas, but on the list of ingredients, Wasabi was not listed and Horseradish was.

So having discovered that the Wasabi peas contained no Wasabi well obviously off they dashed round to the courthouse.

Claiming, that had they known the peas were coated in mere Horseradish they never would have parted with their hard-earned dollars. To whit and indeed i.e. and viz, the sum of $5.99 each. Which of course is nearly $6.00 each they will never see again unless the Courts could be persuaded to right this wrong.

Now I think we all agree that if we buy a diamond ring from a jeweller we would likely call in the trading standards if it turns out to be glass. (Albeit that if we buy a diamond ring for $6.00 we have still only lost $6.00).

But two things. In UK, do we really go to court for redress if we are ripped off for a fiver?

The standard case cited as evidence of the USA crazy litigation culture is “When McDonald’s got sued because their coffee is hot”. But actually in that case the damage suffered was very real – Third degree burns. And the evidence was that the drive-through coffee was dispensed at almost boiling temperature which is undrinkably, scaldingly, hot.

Contrasted with the peas thing, where Hilary Yothers and Zain Eisenberg suffered no burns and got some tasty peas for a trivial price.

Anyway, turns out that the trading standards people in the States wouldn’t have been bothered. And neither was the Court albeit after a lot of lengthy and expensive court time spent in hearing evidence and reaching a judgement.

-Here is the judgement link-

In a nutshell, the Court said “Of course Wasabi peas in US supermarkets never has had any Wasabi in it. Don’t be so silly, it’s like crabsticks. Read the label.”

Yebbut, on the other hand, the label does say Wasabi.

So I don’t know what to say. It seems very odd to me that Wasabi peas are sold throughout the USA and apparently no-one expects a trace of Wasabi.

In Devon you’d better not make a tasty delicacy of beef and swede and onion stew all wrapped in a lovely pastry shell and call it a Cornish pasty. Or eat it with a glass of English Champagne.

Perhaps a trading standards or copyright or trademark lawyer could sort it all out?

In the meantime –link here -a happy song More Peas –

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



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)

We Thought We Got Married? But We Can’t Divorce?

The Law of England is of course always changing, in order to reflect the fact that day to day life changes.

That does not mean that the Law can be considered to be whatever you want it to be. At least, not for the time being. I think there is still a consensus among the British that certainty in the Law is a good thing.

In the area of Marriage laws, in England and Wales, if you want to get married, there are certainties – rules. Rules as to your ages, your relationship to each other (you cannot marry your brother, etc.) whether you are actually unmarried (bigamy is a crime) etc.

If you are going to persuade the British state that you got married in England, you need to have a marriage certificate.

[I have blogged earlier about the chap who had never been to Ghana but found out that a ceremony there which he did not attend resulted in him being legally married in the eyes of the English Courts. -Link Here- – bit of an unusual one that was. This Blog is not about that!]

So eyebrows were certainly raised in 2018 by the judgment in the case of Akhter and Khan when Mr Justice Williams decided that a couple who had never married were in fact parties to a “void” marriage.

When Muslim believers attend a Mosque to marry each other in a Muslim country such as say Pakistan, the religious ceremony of marriage called the “Nikah” is effective to create their marriage. If that couple travels to live in England, the English Courts will accept that they are married. Because, it was a ceremony conducted in Pakistan where it resulted in a marriage recognised in Pakistan. And so when they come to England, they are of course still married and England accepts that.

But if it takes place in England, the Nikah alone does not create a marriage recognised in England. Because the rules in England are not the rules of Pakistan. This is well understood among Muslims in England and indeed many mosques here will not celebrate a Nikah unless a civil marriage has already taken place.

And in the case above, the wife was well aware that English law requires an English ceremony sufficient to result in an English marriage certificate and her evidence made it clear that she had joined in the Nikah on the clear understanding that it would be followed within a very short time by an English civil marriage.

So it is unlikely that the wife was truly expecting her application for an English divorce to be allowed by the Judge and the whole of the English legal profession was extremely surprised when it was. The Judge said in effect:- yes you aren’t married, but you can have a divorce – and also therefore the benefit of all of the English divorce laws as to the division of marital assets, and maintenance and child maintenance rights etc.

Here is a link to the case report –link here-

Once again – “you aren’t married but you can have a divorce”.


The Judge was trying to persuade himself that the Nikah alone resulted not in a “Non-Marriage” like everyone thought, but in a class of marriage called a “Void” marriage.

An example of a void marriage might be the marriage of Mr Rochester to Jane Eyre at the first attempt if it had ever happened, and happened in the present century.

Jane did not know that Rochester was already married to mad Bertha locked in the attic. She understood that her proposed marriage was real, would have assumed she was properly married if the ceremony had completed. If she later found out the marriage was void, she could get therefore divorced.

Contrast this with a “non-marriage” – say, one of the marriages in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Dur, These are film actors pretending. They cannot get a divorce.

But if our Judge thought a Nikah created a void marriage, I’m pretty sure no-one else did.

His decision comes as further example of the maxim that “Hard cases make bad law”. The wife’s situation here was no doubt a hard case.

Most unfair of her “husband” to take her through a ceremony which was morally and religiously binding upon her and upon her conscience – doing so in full knowledge that it had no legal significance in the Country where it took place unless it was followed by an English civil marriage which he had only pretended he would agree to. In the full knowledge therefore that he could walk away from her whenever he chose, free from sanctions of the English divorce courts.

If the refusal of the husband to proceed with the English Civil marriage had caused the wife to walk away from the relationship almost immediately, I do not think the Judge would have found it possible to find the marriage to be a void one or any kind of one.

But she did not seek to walk away immediately, in fact by the time of the case the “marriage” had lasted for eighteen years and there are four children.

But in trying to help the wife with her “hard case”, the Judge’s decision can now be seen to have resulted in “Bad Law”.

Because a marriage either is, or isn’t a marriage. It complies with the rules, or it doesn’t. It cannot be a sort of “wait and see” sort of thing, whereby a “non-marriage” morphs into a “void marriage” after what – a year? Two? Eighteen? A child? Four? It really cannot be that we don’t know whether we are married when we leave the ceremony, it depends what we do next?

So here is the outcome, hottish off the press – the decision of Mr Justice Williams has been overturned – Link Here –

The judgment has restored certainty. But it has of course returned participants in a Nikah to their previous very difficult position.

As her Counsel said – “in this case where the husband led the wife to believe that they would undertake a civil ceremony as part of the process of marrying he has thus left her in the situation where she does not have a marriage which is valid under English law …… Once she had embarked on the process going through the Nikah ceremony and consummating the marriage, the reality for this wife and I suppose many others in her situation is that [just walking away from the “marriage”] was not a realistic option for her. Thus if this marriage is not a valid marriage according to English law nor a void marriage she is left without the remedies which arise from divorce or nullity.”

Any answer I could suggest of course comes too late for this lady, mere hindsight. But my suggestion is that the English Civil ceremony should come first before the Nikah, or better still should be combined. Many mosques are approved venues for marriage and the Nikah and the English marriage can take place together. (It took me all of ten seconds to find the North Finchley Mosque webpage – link here-).

Of course the preservation of divorce rights is a bit of a pessimistic priority for getting married. Here is an optimistic song –Let’s get married, you can have a cat, just as long as it barks-

If you would like to speak to us about our Notary practice -what we can do and what we can provide – then please do not hesitate to visit the website or contact me or Louise Morley on 0113 816 0116 or email to discuss further.