Notary Public Cardiff

notary public Cardiff

Welcome to the website of Notary Public Cardiff

I am a Notary Public based in Cardiff and I offer appointments either at my office in Cardiff or at a location to suit you.

I also offer appointments outside office hours by prior arrangement. I can offer appointments at weekends and in the evenings. Please contact me for a quote or to arrange an appointment.

What is a Notary?

Many people wonder what notaries do. Let us answer that for you in straight-forward terms. Notaries in England and Wales are independent lawyers who help the public in non-contentious matters, mainly validations for oversea transactions.

History of Notaries

Notaries can be traced back to the Roman Empire where they began as a class of court official who drew up documents for the judiciary. The judges thereafter used a seal to authenticate these documents into legal Acts. Eventually, the courts empowered the notaries to authenticate deeds and documents with their own individual seals.

With the sixteenth century Reformation, Rome passed the appointment of notaries to the Crown in 1533. The monarchy entrusted the Archbishop of Canterbury to oversee the appointment through the Court of Faculties; a tradition which continues today.

Since the mid-1800s, the number of notaries in England and Wales has increased from around 50 to over 800; most are practising solicitors.

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Services of Notaries

Notaries main functions are the administering of oaths and affirmations, taking affidavits and statutory declarations, to witness, authenticate, and execute certain classes of documents.

The following are a non-exhaustive list of services offered. Of course, always contact us if in doubt whether we can be of assistance.

  • Authenticate documentation for immigration, emigration, marriage, divorce, adoption, and work visas
  • Authenticate the contents of documents
  • Authenticate documents / execution of documents
  • Attesting (witness) signatures and execution of documents
  • Attesting the signature and the execution of documents
  • Consulate Authentication/ Apostille
  • Administer oaths and declarations
  • Provision of Notarial copies
  • Documentation for the administration of the estate of people who are abroad/ own property abroad
  • Verification of translated documents
  • Powers of Attorney

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The Public Notaries Act 1801 was introduced to put the regulation of notaries on a statutory footing, its introduction describing it as “an Act for the better Regulation of Public Notaries in England”. However, it is the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 and the Legal Services Act 2007 that oversees the statutory regulation today. They grant regulatory powers to the Master of the Faculties; namely, a functionary in the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. This position is always held by the Dean of the Arches. Interestingly, this Office is exempt from any FOI requests.

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The Road to Becoming a Notary

The Notaries (Qualification) Rules 2017 provides an applicant be ‘of good character’, and:
“Is at least 21 years of age and has satisfied the requirements of these rules; and
Has taken the oath of allegiance and the oath required by Section 7 of the Public Notaries Act 1843; and
Is, except where such application is made under rule 4 (ecclesiastical notaries) or rule 8 either a solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales, or a barrister at law or a Chartered Legal Executive or holds a Degree”.

Therefore, usual applicants are solicitors and barristers, or those with a recent qualifying law degree and Legal Practice Certificate (LPC). This entitles an applicant to a Certificate of Exemption from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury from core legal subjects of study.

Thereafter, applicants attend the Diploma in Notarial Practice. This is a two-year distance learning course run by institutions such as University College London wherein students’ study three subjects: Roman Law, Private International Law, and Notary Practice.

Once qualified, The Notaries Society (of England and Wales) mandates “all newly appointed notaries shall, for the first two/three years after their appointment, have their practice as a notary supervised by another notary”.

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Can my family solicitor notarise my documents?

We understand you may wish to deal with a lawyer you are familiar with. However, unless they are notaries too, then sadly not. Most solicitors are not notaries and you may very well need the specialised services of a Notary. Notaries deal with authenticity of documents. Notaries have additional training and are by no means less qualified than a conventional solicitor. In fact, they are more qualified in specific areas.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

Notaries must be able to identify the client. Therefore, they require the following:

  • Photographic I.D. such as a Passport or Driver Licence
  • Proof of Address dated within the last three months
  • Business Clients need additional proofs to show the company’s existence [see below]

Please note that aside from identity, your notary must be satisfied you have the legal capacity and or understanding of the document(s) you require notarising.

They also must be satisfied as to lawful authority if signing on behalf of another party e.g. a limited company, Power of Attorney, etc.

Importantly, your notary will not attest documents unless they are completely satisfied that they have seen the originals and any signatures are genuine. Do not bring copies as opposed to originals.

If in any doubt as to what documents suffice and any other requisites, please feel free to ask at time of making an appointment.

What about corporate entities / charities etc.?

If you are to sign documentation on behalf of a charity, company, organisation, or incorporated body then your notary will require certain proofs.

  • These are evidence of I.D., letterhead, letter of authority or evidence thereof.
  • Other documents such as Memorandum of Association, Articles of Association, Trust Deed, Charter, etc. may be required. These will be outlined ahead of your scheduled appointment.

What is a Power of Attorney?

This is a document that once you have executed it, it will confer power onto another person(s) to act on your behalf or for a company. Powers of Attorney are governed primarily by the Powers of Attorney Act 1971 and, in the case of companies, the Companies Act 2006.

Can a Notary give legal advice?

The job of a Notary is to prepare, certify, attest, and authenticate documents destined for international transactions. This public office comes with limitations and they cannot give partisan advice to clients. They must remain neutral and impartial. They will only advise on the formalities of the process.

They can act in non-contentious areas such as conveyancing and probate.

Solicitors acting as notaries do not typically advise clients on the documentations, and instead an independent lawyer is advised for legal advice.

What is Notary Authentication or Legislation?

This means the document is confirmed as originating where claimed, i.e. the notarised signature and seal are genuine. It normally means having a consulate stamp on the document from the relevant jurisdictional office.

The purpose is to show and or meet pan-jurisdictional requirements; namely, prove the document was signed as claimed.

Signatory countries to the Hague Convention have agreed to accept an Apostille instead, though this is not an absolute rule.

What is an Apostille?

This is a certificate issued by the relevant authority. In the UK this is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It confirms the signature on the document is indeed by that person.  

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I need a document translated. Do notaries do this?

We work with a network of trusted translators and can arrange this for you.

Do I have to attend a particular office? How long does it all take?

Not necessarily. Many of our notaries can arrange to call to your home or business premises at a convenient time.

We cannot advise on how long the appointment will last as each client’s needs are unique. Contact us for a quotation and we will be able to give you more information during the call/email.

How much does a Notary charge?

As with all professional services, fees vary according to the work involved.

Also, additional fees may be required such as translation costs. Contact us for a quotation.

Do the Law Society regulate notaries?

No. This is undertaken by the Faculty Office at the Archbishop of Canterbury, as per the guiding legislation. Please be aware that all notaries are regulated in a similar fashion to solicitors and barristers.

Notaries are fully insured and maintain indemnity cover for the protection of their clients and the public. They are legally mandated to keep clients’ funds separate from their own and they must comply with strict rules of practice and rules relating to conduct. Notaries must renew practising certificates every year and can only do so if they have complied with the Rules.

Are Notaries bound by Data Protection laws?

Of course. They are registered data controllers and must abide by the required obligations thereunder. Any work(s) are recorded in a notary’s formal ledger as required by the Regulator. All notarised documents are copied and safely kept as part of a legal record of the transaction. Notaries are mandated to keep all personal data safe and in a format that is internal only and will only be shared under Notary Regulations and in accord with any lawful demands.

If I am not happy, what are my options afterwards?

The Faculty Office at the Archbishop of Canterbury in London handles complaints.

Should you feel you need to make a complaint, please refer to their website for what is called the Prescribed form of Complaints Wording.

The Legal Ombudsman also has a dedicated section on its website for legal service providers and complaints.

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