A Notary Public is a qualified lawyer. Notaries are appointed by the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The main role of a Notary is the witnessing of signatures to documents, preparing and certifying copies of documents and the authentication of documents.

Often documents may have been prepared by a foreign lawyer for signature in the UK.

Notarised documents may then be used outside the UK.

Notaries must be fully insured and maintain fidelity cover for the protection of their clients and the public.
Some documents may clearly state that your signature must be witnessed by a Notary Public.

For centuries, Notarial acts have been recognised and accepted throughout the world. Anyone with business abroad may rely on a Notary to provide acceptable documentation quickly and at a reasonable cost.

If you are not sure if the document must be witnessed by a Notary Public please seek guidance from the person requesting or who issued the document.
If your document states that is must be 'notarised' this means that you must sign the document in front of a Notary Public.

As a Notary Public for each person signing a document I must verify their identity, legal capacity and understanding of the document as well as their authority if signing on behalf of another party such as a limited company.
UK documents that have been signed by a Notary can be ‘legalised’ by the Legalisation Office of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They do this by attaching a certificate to the document which is known as an Apostille.

You might need to do this if someone in another country has asked you to provide a UK document and they have said it must be legalised or have an Apostille.

Attaching the Apostille authenticates the validity of my signature, stamp and seal and that I am a Notary Public.

The Apostille is widely recognised by countries that are members of the Hague Convention.
Some countries who are not members of the Hague Convention require notarised documents to be legalised by their Consul or Embassy in the UK.  

Many of these countries require legalisation first by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the attaching of an Apostille.
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