Notary Terms of Business

1. Why a notary? It is almost always the case that you have been asked to see a notary because you have a document that needs to be used abroad. Seeing a notary is never a mere rubber-stamping exercise.  The international duty of a Notary involves a high standard of care.  This is not only towards the client but also to anyone who may rely on the document and to Governments or officials of other countries.  These people are entitled to assume that a Notary will ensure full compliance with the relevant requirements both here and abroad; and to rely on the Notary’s register and records. Great care is essential at every stage to minimise the risks of errors, omissions, alterations, fraud, forgery, money laundering, the use of false identity, and so on.

    I offer appointments during business hours and occasionally outside of business hours in exceptional circumstances. I am also prepared to make home visits or visit corporate clients at their place of business. If the notarial appointments take place outside of my office I will make an additional charge to cover travelling time and expenses. 

2. Signatures: The Notary should normally witness your signature.  Please do not sign the document in advance of your appointment with me.

3. Papers to be sent to me in advance:  It will save time, expense and mistakes if you can let me have the following originals or photocopies as long as possible before the appointment:

  • The documents to be notarised;
  • Any letter or other form of instruction which you have received about what has to be done with the documents;
  • Your evidence of identification.

4. Video Conference call:  A video conference call will be required prior to the signature meeting to go through the document, this will take a maximum of 25 minutes.  Should the read through of the document require more than 25 minutes, an extra fee of £400 per hour will be charged.  During the video conference call I will need to see the passport and utility bill to confirm the identity.

5. During the COVID pandemic, the signature meeting at our office at 120 Regent Street in London cannot go over a maximum of 25 minutes as our meeting rooms are booked in 30 minute slots and these now require to be cleaned and disinfected before the next appointment.

6. Identification:  The day of the signature meeting I will need you to produce by way of formal identification the original of (in preferred order):

  • Your current passport; and
  • A utility bill, which should not be more than 3 months old or council tax bill;

In some circumstances, I may require you to produce two forms of identification with a photograph of you, such as a driving licence or passport.

You must also bring any other means of identification that may be referred to in the papers sent to you as being required such as a foreign Identity Card. I may also ask to see further evidence of identity such as marriage certificates etc and will advise you of this if necessary.

7. Proof of names:  In a case where the name on the document is different from the name you are currently using, or there has been a variation in the form of spelling of the name over the years, please provide me as appropriate with Certificates of Birth, Marriage, Divorce Decree or Change of Name Deed showing all the different names that you use.  If there has been a change of name, then I will need to see a copy of the Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration which dealt with it.

8. Advice on the document:  If you bring a document to me for notarisation as a Notary, I will advise you as to the formalities required for completing it. However, I will not be attempting to advise you about the transaction itself.

9. Written Translations:  It is essential that you understand what you are signing.  

  • If the document is in a foreign language, which you do not understand sufficiently, I may have to insist that a translation be obtained.  If I arrange for a translation, a further fee will be payable and I will provide you with details of this.
  • If you arrange for a professional translation, the translator should add his/her name, address, relevant qualification, and a certificate stating: “Document X is a true and complete translation of document Y, to which this translation is attached.”

10. Oral Interpreter:  If you and I cannot understand each other because of a language difficulty, we may have to make arrangements for a competent interpreter to be available at our interview and this may involve a further fee.

11 . Companies:  If a document is to be signed by you on behalf of a company, such as an SCI (Societe Civil Immobiliere), there are further requirements on which I may have to insist.  

In each case:  

  • Evidence of identity of the authorised signatory (as listed above).
  • A Letter of Authority, Minute, Resolution or Power of Attorney, authorising you to sign the document.
  • The K Bis (French incorporation certificate).

Additionally, companies: Certificate of Incorporation and of any Change of Name, a copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association, details of directors and secretaries.  In all instances, I will be carrying out various company searches, which may have an effect on the level of fees charged.

12. Notarial charges and expenses:  Details of my charges are set out below.  Please note that if I have to make payments on your behalf such as legalisation fees, translator or interpreter fees, or other costs such as travelling expenses, your approval will be obtained and you are normally required to make payment in advance of any such amounts.

Charges: If the matter is simple, I will endeavour to charge a fixed fee to include disbursements such as legalisation fees, postage, consular agent fees, courier fees, travelling expenses, translating costs and so on.
 
For more complicated or time-consuming matters, the fee will be based on my hourly rate of £400 plus VAT subject to a minimum fee of £300, plus disbursements/VAT. The fee charged may include time spent on preliminary review and preparation time, making and receiving telephone calls, correspondence written and received in all formats, arranging legalisation and record keeping.

Disbursements: Some documents require legalisation before they will be accepted for use in the receiving jurisdiction by obtaining an apostille through the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and, for some countries additional legalisation is required through the relevant embassy or consulate. The minimum cost of legalisation in this matter, including agent’s minimum fee is £120 plus VAT.

In relation to obtaining the apostille, we are pleased to offer:

  • An urgent same day/24 hour service, which costs £75; or
  • Non-urgent service (four to seven days), which costs £30.

We will provide you with the cost of using a courier to send documents to the relevant notaire upon request.

Payment can be made to Trousset Fawcett by bank transfer.  Payment of my fee and disbursements is due on presentation of my invoice. If the document has been prepared and Trousset Fawcett has not received full payment of fees and disbursements, Trousset Fawcett may retain the document pending payment in full. 

Occasionally unforeseen or unusual issues arise during the course of the matter, which may result in a revision of my fee estimate. Examples of this could include where additional documents are required to be notarised, additional translations or legalisations are needed to meet the requirements of the receiving jurisdiction, third party fees are adjusted to reflect external factors such as fuel price changes and so on. I will notify you of any changes in the fee estimate as soon as possible.

Cancellation of signature appointment: Please be aware that if, for any reason, either you or your French notaire need to cancel the signature appointment after the zoom video conference call has taken place, you will be charged a fee of:

  • 50% of the fee quoted for the signature of the document, and
  • £75 administration cost (printing/emails/telephone calls, etc..

13. Typical Stages of a notarial transaction: Each notarial matter is different and the requirements will vary according to whether the client is a private individual or a company. Some of the typical key stages are likely to include:

  • Receiving and reviewing the documents to be notarised together with any instructions you may have received
  • Liaising with your legal advisors or other bodies to obtain the necessary documentation to deal with the document (e.g. information from Companies House or foreign registries, powers of attorney etc)
  • Checking the identity, capacity and authority of the person who is to sign the document
  • If a document is to be certified, checking with the issuing authorities that the document is genuine 
  • Meeting with the signatory to verify their identity and to ascertain that they understand what they are signing and that they are doing so of their own free will and ensuring that the document is executed correctly
  • Drafting and affixing or endorsing a notarial certificate to the document 
  • Arranging for the legalisation of the document as appropriate
  • Arranging for the storage of copies of all notarised documents in accordance with the requirements of the Notarial Practice Rules 2019

14. Notarial Records and Data Protection:  When I carry out my work for you, I am required to make an entry in a formal register, which is kept by me as a permanent record.  I will retain a copy of the notarised documentation or in some circumstances the original, with that record. My practice is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. Personal data received from clients is held securely and not capable of being accessed externally. Data collected as part of notarial records is used solely for the purposes of meeting our professional legal responsibilities as Notaries Public. For full details of my privacy notice please see my website: www.troussetfawcett.com

15. Insurance: In the interests of my clients, I maintain professional indemnity insurance at a level of at least £1,000,000.00 per claim.

16. My responsibility and limitations of liability: My role as a Notary Public is that of a public certifying officer and not a solicitor. I will not provide you with legal advice. You may wish to seek the advice of your own independent legal or tax or other professional adviser. I shall have no liability in relation to the actions or omissions of others, including postal services, agents, government bodies and agencies and your own advisors. The maximum amount of my liability to you shall not exceed £1,000,000.00 in respect of any one claim or series of related claims. My retainer is with you and only you; no third party shall have any rights in respect of it. I shall have no liability for any loss of profit, revenue, goodwill or data or for any indirect or consequential loss.

17. The relevant law: The law which governs my contract with you is English and Welsh law and it is agreed that any dispute relating to my services shall be the exclusive jurisdiction of the English and Welsh courts.

18. Termination/ Your Right to Cancel: You may terminate your instructions to me at any time by giving me reasonable written notice. All fees and disbursements incurred up to the date of termination will be charged.

Consumer Cooling Off Cancellation Period –Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (“CCR”):
Where the CCR applies (typically, where you are an individual consumer and my contract with you was concluded either at or following a meeting with you or by a form of distance communication) you have a cancellation period of 14 days after the date on which you give me instructions.

You can cancel your contract within the cancellation period by giving me a clear statement and I will reimburse all payments received from you by the same method that you used, at no cost to you, without undue delay, and not later than 14 days after the day on which you inform me of the cancellation.

If you ask us to begin work during the cancellation period, you can still cancel but you must pay me an amount in proportion to the work, which I have performed, and this proportion will not be reimbursed to you.

19. Termination by me:  I reserve the right to terminate my engagement by you if I have good reason to do so, for example, if you do not pay a bill or you fail to give me the co-operation to which I am reasonably entitled to expect.

20. Complaints:  My notarial practice is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury:  

The Faculty Office 
1, The Sanctuary 
Westminster 
London SW1P 3JT 
Telephone 020 7222 5381        
Email Faculty.office@1thesanctuary.com
Website www.facultyoffice.org.uk
  

If you are dissatisfied with the service you have received, please do not hesitate to contact me.  

If we are unable to resolve the matter, you may then complain to the Notaries Society of which I am a member, who have a Complaints Procedure, which is approved by the Faculty Office.  This procedure is free to use and is designed to provide a quick resolution to any dispute.  

In that case please write (but do not enclose any original documents) with full details of your complaint to :- 
 
The Secretary of the Notaries Society 
Old Church Chambers 
23 Sandhill Road 
St James 
Northampton.  NN5 5LH 
Email secretary@thenotariessociety.org.uk         Tel: 01604 758908  

If you have any difficulty in making a complaint in writing please do not hesitate to call the Notaries Society/the Faculty Office for assistance.  

Finally, even if you have your complaint considered under the Notaries Society Approved Complaints Procedure, you may at the end of that procedure, or after a period of 6 months from the date you first notified me that you were dissatisfied, make your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, if you are not happy with the result :  
 
Legal Ombudsman 
P O Box 6806 
Wolverhampton  WV1 9WJ  
Tel: 0300 555 0333     
Email :  enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk     
Website :  www.legalombudsman.org.uk  

If you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman:

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and 
  • Six years from the date of act/omission; or 
  • Three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint (only if the act or omission took place more than six years ago).

  
The act or omission, or when you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5th October 2010.  


21. Covid-19

In order to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19 and where face-to-face appointments are required, I would respectfully ask you to:

  • Arrive on time for the appointment to minimise your waiting time in reception;
  • The receptionist will direct you to the meeting room;
  • Where I am certifying a document, bring your own pen; and
  • Clean your hands at the start and end of the appointment (sanitisers are available in the meeting room and in the corridor leading to the reception).

If you or a member of your household has Covid-19 symptoms, please do not attend the appointment.

I may wear a face covering and disposable gloves throughout the appointment.  Unless you are exempt, I would appreciate it if you also wear a face covering during the meeting. Surfaces will be cleaned before and after each appointment.  In order to provide ventilation, the window in the meeting room will normally be open.

I hope that these notes are of help to you in understanding what is expected of each of us.