Notary Public Search United Kingdom

Useful Information

What is a Notary Public? 
A notary practicing in England and Wales holds an office which is internationally recognised. The signature and official seal of a Notary are recognised as evidence of a responsible legal officer in most countries of the world. A Notary mainly acts as an impartial and legally trained witness to authenticate and certify the execution of documents required or intended for use outside the UK. 

How do I find a Notary who is available in the evening or at a weekend?

The legal profession in the United Kingdom 

* When might I need a Notary? 

* Contacting a notary

What should I take when I go to see the notary?  What proof of identity is required? 

* Documents needed

What is the notarial process?

* Checking identity

What is Legalisation?

* Certifying a document

Countries that require documents to be legalised include 

* Countries

* The legalisation process

* What happens if the document is not in English?

What is a Power of Attorney? About the legal profession in the United Kingdom 
The UK's legal profession consists mainly of Solicitors, Barristers and Notaries. Solicitors are the most numerous; their main areas of practise are conveyancing, dealing with probate and the conduct of litigation. Barristers have similar powers to solicitors and, although in recent years they have widened the scope of their work, they generally confine their work to advocacy and to offering specialist legal advice. 

Notaries represent the oldest and smallest branch of the legal profession. The notary is a qualified lawyer (usually a solicitor but not always) whose task it is to certify documents and transactions so that they can be effective in countries outside the United Kingdom.

Notaries are appointed and regulated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the authority of the Crown. The Archbishop's jurisdiction is exercised through one of the oldest of the English courts - the Court of Faculties located in Westminster.

When might I need a Notary? 

The services of a Notary Public are generally needed in all international business transactions and many legally-binding social transactions such as getting married abroad. One of the most frequent notarial documents dealt with by a notary on behalf of individuals and companies is a Power of Attorney. However a notary may also be called upon to certify the proper execution or signing of any sort of document that is to be used overseas.

Contacting a notary

Notaries work independently – even within the same law firm!   Contact your local MyNotary to make an appointment.  Many notaries provide a walk-in service however it is always best to phone or email in advance to avoid disappointed.


What should I take when I go to see the notary?  What proof of identity is required? 

It depends of the nature of the documents needing to be notarised. At the very least take your passport and a utility bill or, if signing on behalf of a company or corporation, certain company documentation may be needed.  Ask your chosen notary in advance for guidance.

What is the notarial process?
After checking the identity the person or persons concerned (usually by way of passport and a utility bill or company documentation) and the substance of any fact or event the notary may issue a certificate confirming such fact or event. This may be in relation to immigration or emigration matters or issues relating to status, marriage divorce or adoption and many like matters. Notaries may deal maritime matters, bills of exchange and the registration of an overseas company.

What is Legalisation?

Legalisation or as it is sometimes spelt ‘legalization’ is the process of certifying a document so a foreign country's legal system will recognize it. The process is routinely used in international commerce. The procedure for legalizing a foreign document varies from country to country. Some countries, those that are signatories to the Hague Convention have agreed that Consular authentication of documents is no longer required and in most cases, execution of the documents by a Notary Public is sufficient. 

See Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents

Countries that have opted to not participate in the Hague Convention of 1961 typically require that documents be authenticated by the foreign affairs ministry of the originating country (e.g. in Canada, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa). Once authenticated by the foreign ministry the documents then need to be reviewed and approved by the consular staff of the country in which the transaction is to occur. 

Countries that require documents to be legalised include:

Algeria, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Stan, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

More about legalisation in Wikipedia

The legalisation process
The notary can take care of whole process for you.  It can be done within the same day or take a few weeks depending on where your notary is in England or Wales and what country the document is for.

What happens if the document is not in English?

If the document is not in English, the Notary can still certify it if he or she is satisfied that you fully understand the nature of the legally binding document about to be notarised. Some foreign language documents can be legalised; your MyNotary notary will be able to advise.  Your MyNotary notary can also arrange translation if necessary. If possible get the document in electronic format and scan it to the notary public in advance.  The notary can then tell you what the translation cost would be.

All in days work
The work of a Notary Public is extremely varied. For individuals, it may relate to immigration or emigration matters or issues relating to status, non-impediment, marriage, divorce or adoption.  Buying, selling or transferring real estate property outside of the United Kingdom.  Or even having a Last Will and Testament notarised.  
Why, if you own real estate property outside of the United Kingdom, it is a good idea to have your Will notarised
Notaries may deal maritime matters, bills of exchange and the registration of an overseas company.  

Both individuals and companies ask the notary to notarise Powers of Attorney
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document allowing one person to act in a legal matter on another's behalf. It is important that the scope of ‘power' handed over to another party is specific. Sometimes it is necessary to limit the ability of the person you are appointing to act for you in legal matter. Your notary will assess the ‘powers’ being granted and advise you accordingly.
Back to top