Notaries in England and Wales form the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in the United Kingdom. Their origin can be traced back to the times of the occupation of Britain by the Romans. Just like Notaries in countries with Civil Law jurisdictions, Notaries in England and Wales carry out all kinds of non-contentious legal work. They are effectively Civil Law Lawyers or Notaries practising in a Common Law Jurisdiction and a bridge between the Civil Law Jurisdictions and the Common Law Jurisdiction of England and Wales.
QUALIFYING AS A NOTARY PUBLIC IN
ENGLAND AND WALES
In order to qualify as a Notary now, one must have a University degree and pass the Postgraduate Diploma in Notarial Practice, Roman Law and International Private Law provided by University College, London. Once the potential Notary has passed this postgraduate diploma, he or she may petition the Court of Faculties for a “Faculty.” A “Faculty” grants a Notary his/her authority to practice. This is followed by two years supervision under an experienced Notary and only when this is satisfactorily completed is it possible to practice without supervision. Notaries are required to have full professional indemnity and fidelity insurance.
The Faculty Office regulates Notaries. For further information visit the website:
WHAT DOES A NOTARY DO?
A Notary prepares Notarial Acts, including Authentic Acts, mainly being documents executed in England and Wales for use everywhere in the world. This includes drafting, reviewing and explanation of legal documents for use outside the UK. There are two basic types of Notarial Act; those in private form and those in Public form, which are Authentic Acts/Instruments. The private form is when a Notary annexes a Notarial Certificate by way of authentication of a document and its contents thus converting it into a Notarial Act. The Public Form is an Authentic Act/Instrument drafted by the Notary, which will include verification of identity, legal capacity and understanding of the document and awareness of the contents, confirming authority to enter into the transaction eg. in the case of a corporate body and also authenticating the contents after verifying the same. Notaries are authorised and empowered to carry out and do carry out all types of legal work carried out by solicitors, other than contentious work. This is a similar situation to that of the Notary in Civil Law jurisdictions. Accordingly Notaries deal with conveyancing, probate and Wills and all other types of non-contentious commercial and private legal work.
THE ROLE OF NOTARIES IN
HELPING BUSINESS AND CITIZENS
Notaries have had their Notarial Acts recognised worldwide for centuries and this, indeed, has permitted citizens and businesses to circulate freely. In this way Notaries facilitate commerce and the life for the ordinary citizen as Notarial Acts enable them to go about their daily lives and business freely at reasonable cost and without undue delay.