What is a Notary?

A Notary, also known as a Notary Public, is a lawyer who is authorised by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, to authenticate legal documents usually for use in a foreign jurisdiction. Their conduct is regulated by the Court of Faculties under Acts of Parliament from 1533 to 1990.

Notaries are the oldest branch of the legal profession, going back to Roman times, when they were appointed to help protect people at a time when few were literate.

Nowadays, Notaries are usually solicitors who have undertaken additional post-graduate training and supervision to qualify and practise in the authentication of legal documents.

What does a Notary do?

A Notary will verify the identity of each client, their legal capacity, that they understand the document they are signing, and their authority if signing on behalf of another party such as a limited company.

Following this the document will be authenticated, signed and an official seal applied to the document.

Richard Drake – Notary

Richard became a Notary in 1985 and provides notarial services to clients in Berkshire, Wiltshire and surrounding areas. He is based in our office in Hungerford but can attend your office or home if appropriate.

Emily Payne – Notary

Emily qualified as a Notary in September 2021, as a complementary addition to her private practice, she authenticates and notarises clients’ documents for use abroad. This service is offered from our Hungerford office.

Why would I need a Notary?

Legal documents intended for use in a foreign country or state will usually need to be authenticated by a Notary before they’ll be accepted.

This could include documents such as powers of attorney, sworn statements, contracts, property documents and certificates of law. The documents may have been prepared in the UK or by a foreign lawyer.

As qualified lawyers, our most commonly requested Notary Public services include:

  • Witnessing oaths
  • Taking affidavits
  • Verifying legal documents for use in the UK and abroad
  • Notarising documents and preparing Notarial Certificates
  • Arranging legalisation of notarised documents by foreign embassies
  • Arranging authentication and legalisation of documents by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office under the Hague Convention
  • Authenticating powers of attorney for use overseas
  • Dealing with purchase or sale of land and property abroad
  • Authenticating foreign wills and providing documents to deal with the administration of the estates of people who are abroad, or owning property abroad
  • Authenticating personal documents and information for:
    • Immigration or emigration purposes
    • Applications to marry abroad
    • Applications to work abroad, such as education or professional qualifications
    • Declarations of freedom to marry
  • Authenticating company and business documents and transactions or providing certificates as to the status of a company or the identity of its directors

Our Notary Public Team

Emily Payne

Partner | Solicitor | Notary
Richard Drake - solicitor and notary public at Dickins Hopgood Chidley

Richard Drake

Solicitor | Notary

Resources – the answer could be just a click away

We have more helpful free legal advice in our fact sheets, just click to download:

All other resources

Send us an email, we're here to help.

Home Contact Form