A Notary Public verifies facts and authenticates documents for their use outside England and Wales. Sometimes a Notary Public can also prove useful for generally domestic, UK matters.
The type of work undertaken by a Notary Public is limitless and ranges from Powers of Attorney, dealing with the estates of deceased persons with property abroad, the taking of Affidavits and the execution of wills to all types of commercial transactions. Notaries may also become involved in foreign adoption procedures, sponsorship applications, bills of exchange, Visa documents and shipping protests.
A Notary does not advise on the effect of a document but the Notary must ensure that the person entering into the transaction has the capacity, will and understanding to do so. For that reason, and in most cases, the Notary Public must attend upon the person signing the document. The Notary Public also needs to verify the identity of that person.
Notaries are appointed by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In order to qualify as a Notary Public a person must first qualify as a Solicitor or Barrister and then undertake further qualifications relevant to the practice of a Notary Public.