Notary Public Terms and Conditions of Business

Terms and Conditions of Business

A notary public is a qualified lawyer, a member of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in the United Kingdom. We are appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and are subject to regulation by the Court of Faculties. I practise as an independent Notary.

Basis of my work
These conditions govern my professional relationship with you as a client. I can therefore only act for you on the following basis, and when you have had sight of these conditions. By accepting my term and conditions of business you are instructing me to act.

Accepting instructions
I can only accept instructions that comply with the Notarial practice Rules 2009 and my notarial Oath given on my appointment as a notary public.
I will decline to accept instructions or conclude a matter on your behalf where I have reason to believe that there is any fraud, violence, illegality or lack of free will involved in the matter. I may also be unable to proceed if you cannot give me clear or proper instructions.

My fees
My fees are based on the time taken to deal with the whole matter, and are charged at my hourly rate of £225. I reserve the right to vary the rate, particularly in relation to extremely urgent/or complex or unusual matters or those that require particular expertise. I am not registered for VAT.
Disbursement: in addition to my fees, you are responsible for all disbursements, including such of the following as are applicable:

(1) legalisation fees payable to the Foreign and Commonwealth office and/or Embassies etc;
(2) Translators’/interpreters’ fees
(3) Companies House search fees
(4) Agents
(5) Travelling expenses where applicable
(6) Couriers fees; transmission fees/postage or special delivery costs.

Payment: my fees are payable upon signature/release of the notarised documentation, although subsequent work may remain to complete the matter. I will require money on account of any disbursements or fees payable to third parties, which must clear my account before I can make any payment on your behalf.

I accept cash payments up to £500 with the necessary evidence, payment by cheque with a valid bankcard and payment by debit or credit card.
If you have negotiated a regular invoice account with me; I will issue my invoice to you with the completed documentation, for payment within seven days.

Any queries concerning an invoice should be raised immediately upon receipt.

In the event of payment not being made as requested, I reserve the right to decline to act further on your behalf and/or to exercise a lien on any papers or documents which are in my possession, until payment has been made.

In the event of payment not being made as requested, Interest is chargeable from 7 days following the date of invoice at a rate of 4% per annum above Lloyds TSB Bank Base Rate from time to time in force.

Quotations & estimates
Every effort will be made to provide you with a quotation for the total cost of undertaking the work on your behalf. Except in the most routine cases, it may be difficult to estimate how many hours of work will be required to complete a matter, bearing in mind the variety of circumstances that may arise. However, guidance as to likely costs will be given, where possible, on request. Any estimates given will be based on the information available to me at the time and, although given in good faith, will not be binding.

Variations in the instructions given, including requests for additional work or unexpected developments and/or inexperience, incompetence or lack of co-operation on the part of other parties or their advisors may increase the costs.

Special Factors
Some factors may affect my fees for example: -
(1) Complexity, difficulty or novelty
(2) Skill, labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility
(3) Time
(4) Number and importance of documents prepared or perused
(5) Place and circumstances in which the business or any part is done
(6) Value of money or property involved
(7) Importance of the matter to the client
(8) Urgency, disruption, dislocation/re-arranged of other work
(9) Work unavoidable undertaken outside of my usual office hours.

Time Charged
This applies to all work undertaken from start to finish including preliminary details and advice, preparation, attendances, drafting, phone calls, correspondence, fax, legalisation and record keeping requirements, including updating my Notarial Register and Protocol.

Places of Attendance
Your personal attendance at my offices is preferable where my own photocopying and experienced secretarial facilities are available as required. Arrangements can be made for me to attend your place of business or home. In cases justifying attendances at your own address, for example, in the event of incapacitation; special arrangements can be made.

Foreign Law
I do not advise on foreign law but act only in an evidential, authentication capacity.

Your Own Professional Advisors
In relation to certain transactions, I will expect you to have obtained advice from your own English lawyer(s) and/or relevant foreign lawyer(s, and/or other competent professional advisers. You may potentially be taking a huge risk relying on documents prepared by another party or its adviser(s), without taking independent legal or other competent professional advice. Depending upon the circumstances I may be unable to act for you until you have done so.
Part of my role is to verify the facts in the document. This may involve obtaining evidence or proof from sources independent of you. If required, I will need your co-operation and authorisation. If I have to add disclaimers to the document/s about facts I am not able to verify, the document/s may not be acceptable for the purpose required, or be of less benefit. I will not accept any liability if this is the case. Urgency and/or expense must not override essential accuracy and validity.

It is importance for you to be aware that English Notaries have to comply with the following internationally recognised and acceptable procedures. Professional requirements in England and Wales have become more stringent and onerous through progressive assimilation with European Notarial standards, and global developments affecting Notarial practice.

Professional Responsibilities
When acting as a Notary Public I must insist on satisfactory compliance with and/or reliable proof of all appropriate matters, including but not limited to the following: -

(1) Your identity
(2) Your legal capacity/authority
(3) Your comprehension and approval
(4) Interpretation/translation
(5) Documentary objective
(6) Form and substance
(7) Voluntary act, free of undue influence
(8) Alterations in the document
(9) Due signature(s)
(10) Witnessing formalities
(11) Observance of other stipulates formalities at home or abroad
(12) Foreign and Commonwealth Office and/or Consular legalisation

Recipient’s Requirements
If the foreign country/authority/party with whom you are dealing stipulate that documents are to be notarised then they will not settle for less. Short cuts should be avoided to ensure that the document is accepted and not rejected by the recipient country/authority. The cost of rejection is delay, missing a vital deadline, possible financial loss to you or others and having to start all over again, at greater expense/loss of time to you.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office And/Or Consular Legalisation
Most countries require notarised documents to receive further certification (usually termed “an Apostille”) by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and/or legalisation by the relevant High Commission/Embassy/Consulate. Usually I arrange this by post however, it may be necessary for me to instruct an agent to deal with this, if the matter is urgent.

Register & Protocol
At the closing of the transaction, a formal register entry has to be made by me as a permanent record; and a protocol copy set of the notarised documentation is customarily kept. Frequently, a fully executed set of duplicate originals is required, or advisable, to be retained by me, as per the Notarial Practice Rules and at my discretion. In some instances, I may retain the original and issue a certified copy.

Data Protection
I comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. I am required to maintain personal data for regulatory and insurance purposes for a period of time after conclusion of provision of services to you.

Force Majeure
I will not be liable for any loss or damage arising as a direct or indirect result of the supply of services being prevented, hindered, delayed or rendered uneconomic by reason of circumstances beyond my control, including but not limited to Act of God, war, riot, strike, lock out, trade dispute or labour disturbance, accident, breakdown of machinery, fire, flood, storm or difficulty increased expense in obtaining information or services of any description.

Disclaimer of Liability to clients
In any event, no liability whatsoever will be accepted on my part, agents or staff where such liability either arises from any instructions or information given by the client or by any third party being incomplete, inaccurate or incorrect; or where such liability is for any indirect, economic or consequential loss or damage, costs, expenses, or other claims for consequential compensation whatsoever or howsoever caused which arise out of or in connection with services provided by the firm or for loss of profit, loss of business, loss of data, depletion of goodwill or loss occurring in the normal course of business or otherwise.

Professional Indemnity, Limitations on Liability
No liability for loss (including, but not limited to damages, costs and interests) to clients or other parties, whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise will be accepted by me, my agents or staff in relation to any matter in the absence of specific written agreement to the contrary referring to this term and signed by me in excess the amount of my professional indemnity insurance cover from time to time. The present cover is for not less than £2,000,000. Specific cover for higher limits may be obtained in certain circumstances, at the expense of the client.

English law shall be the applicable law in relation to any dispute in relation to these terms and conditions, and the English courts shall have sole jurisdiction. If any provision of these terms is held by any court or other competent authority to be void or unenforceable in whole or part, these terms shall continue to be valid as to the other provisions thereof and the remainder of the affected provision.

I attach great importance to dealing with clients’ affairs in strict confidence. However, The Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury the professional body regulating Notarial practice has rights of inspection to ensure good practice and conduct.

It is my policy to use e-mail wherever possible. Where a client has provided me with an e-mail address, e.g. by sending me an e-mail, I will assume that I may use that address for the sending of unencrypted sensitive or confidential correspondence or documents to the client. I may also, during the course of a matter, send unencrypted sensitive or confidential information to other parties involved, unless specifically requested by them or the client not to do so. All e-mails sent and the attachments thereto should be scanned for viruses by the recipient.

Money Laundering Requirements
I operate anti-money laundering reporting procedure as required by law whereby, in the event of any suspicion as to money laundering, information will be revealed to the appropriate authorities without notice to you or any third part. All payments to me must be made via a UK clearing bank. All clients will be required to provide satisfactory proof of identity and full details of the source and proposed destination of funds (if applicable). Pending this, funds may be frozen and I will not accept any responsibility/liability for loss or delay caused by the failure of clients to provide such information promptly, or if delays are caused to your transaction owing to any report made by me as above.

My Notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury:
The Faculty Office
1 The Sanctuary


If you have complaints about my work then please do not hesitate to contact me, and if the matter cannot be immediately resolved I will refer your complaint to the Notaries Society of which I am a member, who have a Complaints Procedure which is approved by the Faculty Office.

Alternatively, you can complain to the Notaries Society direct. Please write (but do not enclose any original documents) with full details of your complaint to:-

Christopher Vaughan
Secretary of the Notaries Society
Old Church Chambers
23 Sandhill Road
St. James


Finally, even if you have your complaint considered under the Notaries Society Approved Complaints Procedure, you may at the end of that procedure or after a period of eight weeks from the date of making the complaint to me, make your complaint direct to the Legal Ombudsman (whose contact details are set out below) if the matter has not been resolved to your satisfaction:

Legal Ombudsman
Baskerville House
Centenary Square
Broad Street
B1 2ND
Tel: 0300 555 0333