A Notary Public is a member of the senior branch of the legal profession. Since 1533 notaries have been appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury acting under authority given to him by various Acts of Parliament. A notary is authorised to carry out all legal work except the conduct of litigation before a court of law. Many notaries are also solicitors but I do not practise as a solicitor.
An important part of a notary publicís role is to authenticate documents for use outside of England & Wales. These can relate to a wide range of activities including overseas property transactions, administration of the affairs of people who have died, commercial transactions, court proceedings and advice on foreign law.
I am normally available between 9am and 5pm Mondays to Fridays. It may be possible to see me on Saturday mornings but an additional fee will be payable. I see people only by prior appointment at 16 Priory Gardens. I can travel to see clients at their homes and offices if required but a charge for travelling time will be made.
As a notary it is my duty to ensure that the people appearing before me are properly identified. I will require to see the appearerís current passport, driving licence if held and 2 documents showing the appearerís name and address eg an utility bill and a bank statement which should be no more than 3 months old. If a passport is not available, I shall require a third party to identify you personally to me. All transactions by limited companies need to be supported by similar evidence of the identity of the appearing officers of the company and in some cases the relevant resolutions authorising the transaction; I make a search at the Companies Registry to check the status of the company and its officers.
My fees are calculated by the amount of time it takes me to complete a matter, including recording it in my register and scanning all documents I sign in my protocol.
I currently charge at the rate of £230.00+VAT per hour. It is unusual for any matter to take less than 30 minutes and it is unlikely my basic fee will be less than £100.00+VAT but I will tell you what it is likely to be when I have seen what is involved.
In addition to my fees there may be fees payable to third parties such as the Foreign Office, consulates or registries. My fees are due when you the client sign your documents or, if agreed with me in advance, when you collect completed documents.
The fee for an affidavit or statutory declaration is £5.00 plus £2 for any accompanying document such as a plan.
DOCUMENTS FROM A THIRD PARTY i.e. YOU THE CLIENT WHICH I HAVE NOT SEEN OR PREPARED IN ADVANCE OF OUR MEETING
I will normally agree a fee in advance either on the telephone or via email based on the description of the work which you the client provide me with. It is my practice to ask you how many documents you will need to sign in front of me as well as their nature and country of destination. I will ask you to send me copies in advance wherever possible. This is expressly done to give you certainty what will be my fee and any disbursements. This procedure is based totally on trust: you must give me completely accurate information on which I can then assess my fee. A contract thus arises for the provision of my services. If however, you see me and produce further unmentioned documents or further copies of the document discussed for me to sign, or fail to write up documents which you are required by me to complete in ink before our meeting, then our contract will be rescinded by me and will be void. I will either refuse to act for you in those circumstances or confirm the new higher fee which I shall require in order to complete your work.
I speak fluent Spanish and French and can also deal with straightforward documents in Italian and Portuguese.
Spain: I specialise in helping clients with property, succession and other matters by preparation of powers of attorney for both individuals and companies and many other documents such as certificates of law for Spanish land registrars and notaries, deeds of revocation of powers of attorney; deeds of rectification and ratification, along with translation of documents into Spanish or from Spanish into English. I also advise on the terms and import of contracts, deeds and other documents in Spanish and liaise with Spanish lawyers and other professionals.
France: I specialise in helping clients with French property, succession and other matters, explaining the terms of French property contracts and deeds to clients, authenticating French powers of attorney, preparing documents for the succession to property in France and liaising with French notaries and other professionals.
England & Wales: I also undertake conveyancing work in England for the sale and purchase of residential property, commercial leases, deeds of trust and other property matters, probate, administration of estates, preparation of wills and general contract law and advice.
Officials in many foreign countries will want to be sure that I am a duly appointed English notary. This is done by a procedure called legalisation. For most countries this means applying by post to the Foreign & Commonwealth Legalisation office at Milton Keynes for an apostille under the Hague Convention on Legalisation. Some countries require documents to be further legalised by their consulates in London. The current fee for an apostille is £30.00.
PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE
I have professional indemnity cover for not less that £1million per claim.
PAUL SOULSBY WILLIAMSON LLB(Hons); N.P.