Terms of Business

1. MY FEES:

My minimum fee for a brief, basic matter is £75. My hourly rate is £170. I reserve the right to vary the rate, particularly in respect of extremely urgent and/or complex or unusual matters or those that require particular expertise.

2. 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.  Occasionally I may not be able to see you within the timeframe you require, or I may decide that I am unable to act for you in which case I will advise you that that is the case and will provide you with the necessary information to locate an alternative notary.

3. SIGNATURES:

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

4. 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 apply (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 you sign my retainer letter or the date on which you continue to give me instructions, whichever is earlier.
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.
 

5. PLACE OF ATTENDANCE:

Your personal attendance at my office is preferable where my own photocopying and facilities are available as required. Arrangements can be made for me to attend your home or place of business. In cases justifying attendance at your own address – e.g. in the event of incapacitation, special arrangements can be made but this inevitably increases time and expense.

6. 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 comply with my request for a payment on account or you fail to give me the co-operation which I am reasonably entitled to expect.

7. PAPERS TO BE SENT TO ME IN ADVANCE:

It will save time, expense and mistakes if, as long before the appointment as possible, you can let me have the originals or photocopies of:

•    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.
 

8. 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 or Divorce Decree of 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.

9. ADVICE ON THE DOCUMENT:

If you bring a document to me for authorisation as a Notary, I will advise you as to the formalities required for completing it.  I will not be attempting to advise you about the transaction itself. It is your responsibility to take legal advice on the content and effect of any document you are signing.

10. 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.”
 

11. QUOTATIONS & ESTIMATES:

Every effort will be made to provide you with a quotation for the total cost of undertaking the work on your behalf. Except in the most routine cases, it may be difficult to estimate how many hours of work will be required to complete a matter, bearing in mind the variety of circumstances that may arise. However, guidance as to likely costs will be given, where possible, on request. Any estimates given will be based on the information available to me at the time and, although given in good faith, will not be binding. Variations in the instructions given, including requests for additional work or unexpected developments and/or inexperience, incompetence or lack of co-operation on the part of other parties or their advisers may increase costs.

12. SPECIAL FACTORS:

may affect fee rate e.g.

  • (1) complexity, difficulty or novelty;
  • (2) skill, labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility;
  • (3) time;
  • (4) number and importance of documents prepared or perused;
  • (5) place and circumstances in which the business or any part is done;
  • (6) value of money or property involved;
  • (7) importance of the matter to the client;
  • (8) urgency, disruption, dislocation/re-arrangement of other work;
  • (9) work unavoidably undertaken out-of-office hours.

13. TIME CHARGED:

This applies to all work undertaken from start to finish including preliminary details and advice, preparation, attendances, drafting, phone calls, correspondence, legalisation and terminal work including the Notarial Register and Protocol.

14. DISBURSEMENTS:

Additionally the client is responsible for all disbursements, including such of the following as are applicable:

  • (1) Legalisation fees payable to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and/or Embassies etc;
  • (2) translators’/interpreters’ fees;
  • (3) Agents;
  • (4) travelling expenses where applicable;
  • (5) couriers’ and/or other transmission costs.

15. PAYMENT:

My charges are normally payable upon signature/release of the notarised documentation, although subsequent work may remain to complete the matter. I accept payment by cash, debit card, credit card & BACS Transfer.

7.1 If you have negotiated a regular invoice account with me, I will issue my invoice to you with the completed documentation, for payment within fourteen days.

7.2 Any queries concerning an invoice should be raised immediately upon receipt.

7.3 In the event of payment not being made as requested, I reserve the right to decline to act any further on your behalf and/or to exercise a lien on any papers or documents which are in my possession, until payment has been made.

7.4 In the event of payment not being made as requested, Interest is chargeable from fourteen days following the date of the invoice at a rate of 4% per annum above Barclays Bank Base Rate from time to time in force.

16. PLEASE NOTE:

Should there be an error in your instructions or a document rejected either by you or a recipient third party due to an error or mistake made or caused by you, you shall be required to indemnify the Business and its affiliates, agents and subcontractors from and against any claims, losses, demands, actions, liabilities, fines, penalties, reasonable expenses, damages and settlement amounts (including reasonable legal fees and costs) incurred as a result of the error made.

17. FOREIGN LAW:

I do not advise on foreign law but act in an evidential, authentication capacity.

18. YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL ADVISERS:

11.1 In relation to certain transactions, I would expect you to have obtained advice from your own

(a) English lawyer(s) and/or

(b) relevant foreign lawyer(s), and/or

(c) other competent professional advisers.

You may potentially be taking a huge risk of relying on documents prepared by another party or its adviser(s), without yourself taking independent legal or other competent professional advice.

11.2 If you have not done so, you may be advised to obtain advice from

(a) English lawyer(s) and/or

(b) relevant foreign lawyer(s), and/or

(c) other competent professional advisers before the transaction proceeds.

19. URGENCY:

Urgency and/or expense must not override essential accuracy and validity.

20. STANDARDS:

Clients are requested to be mindful that Individual notaries do not write the Rules but have to follow internationally recognised and acceptable procedures. Also, professional requirements in the U.K. have become more stringent and onerous through progressive assimilation with European notarial standards, and global developments affecting notarial practice.

21. STRINGENT RESPONSIBILITIES:

Whether you or your agents or other parties wish it or not, when acting as a Notary Public I must insist on satisfactory compliance with and/or reliable proof of all appropriate matters, e.g. relating to

(1) your identity,

(2) your legal capacity/authority,

(3) your comprehension and approval,

(4) interpretation/translation,

(5) documentary objective,

(6) form and substance,

(7) voluntary act/undue influence etc.

(8) alterations in the document,

(9) due signature(s),

(10) witnessing,

(11) observance of other stipulated formalities at home and abroad,

(12) Foreign & Commonwealth Office and/or Consular legalisation.

22. RECIPIENT’S REQUIREMENTS:

If the foreign country/authority/ party with whom you are dealing stipulates that documents are to be notarised, then they will not settle for less. Short cuts should be avoided to ensure that the document is accepted and not rejected by the recipient country/authority. The cost of rejection is delay, missing a vital deadline, possible financial loss to you or others and having to start all over again, at greater expense/loss of time to you.

23. FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE AND/OR CONSULAR LEGALISATION:

Most countries require notarised documents to receive further certification (usually termed “an Apostille”) by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office; and/or legalisation by the relevant High Commission/Embassy/Consulate. Usually I arrange this by post; but clients may if they prefer deal with it themselves in person or by courier – especially if the matter is extremely urgent.

24. REGISTER & PROTOCOL:

At the closing of the transaction, a formal register entry has to be made by me as a permanent record; and a protocol copy set of the notarised documentation is customarily kept. Frequently, a fully executed set of duplicate originals is required, or advisable, to be retained by me. In some instances, I may retain the original and issue a certified copy.

25. DATA PROTECTION:

I comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) (“GDPR”). Please click here to read my Data Protection Notice.

26. FORCE MAJEURE:

I will not be liable for any loss or damage arising as a direct or indirect result of the supply of services being prevented, hindered, delayed or rendered uneconomic by reason of circumstances beyond my control, including but not limited to Act of God, war, riot, strike, lock out, trade dispute or labour disturbance, accident, breakdown of machinery, fire, flood, storm or difficulty or increased expense in obtaining information or services of any description.

27. DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY TO THIRD PARTIES:

No liability whatsoever will be accepted on my part, agents or staff in relation to any loss, damage or liability whatsoever caused directly or indirectly to any party other than the client for whom I have agreed to act in connection with the relevant matter. No third party shall have any right to enforce any contract to provide advice or services or to rely upon any advice given or opinion expressed by me or on my behalf. The application of any legislation conferring on third parties contractual or other rights, including the Contract (Rights of Third Parties Act 1999) shall be excluded insofar as permitted by law.

28. DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY:

In any event, no liability whatsoever will be accepted on my part, agents or staff where such liability either arises from any instructions or information given by the client or by any third party being incomplete, inaccurate or incorrect; or where such liability is for any indirect, economic or consequential loss or damage, costs, expenses or other claims for consequential compensation whatsoever or howsoever caused which arise out of or in connection with the services provided by me or for loss of profit, loss of business, loss of data, depletion of goodwill or loss occurring in the normal course of business or otherwise.

29. PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY, LIMITATIONS ON LIABILITY:

No liability for loss (including, but not limited to, damages, costs and interest) to clients or other parties, whether in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise will be accepted by the Notary, agents or staff in relation to any matter in the absence of specific written agreement to the contrary referring to this term and signed by Notary in excess of the lower of:

21.1 The amount of the Notary’s professional indemnity insurance cover from time to time. The present cover is for not less than £1m. Specific cover for higher limits may be obtainable in certain circumstances at the expense of the client.

30. JURISDICTION:

English law shall be the applicable law and the English courts shall have sole jurisdiction in the case of any dispute. If any provision of these terms is held by any court or other competent authority to be void or unenforceable in whole or part, these terms shall continue to be valid as to the other provisions thereof and the remainder of the affected provision.

31. CONFIDENTIALITY:

I attach great importance to dealing with clients’ affairs in strict confidence. However, the professional body regulating Notarial practice also has rights of inspection to ensure good practice and conduct.

32. E-MAIL:

It is my policy to use e-mail wherever possible. Where a client has provided me with an e-mail address, e.g., by sending me an e-mail, I will assume that I may use that address for the sending of unencrypted sensitive or confidential correspondence or documents to the client. I may also, during the course of a matter, send unencrypted sensitive or confidential information to other persons involved, unless specifically requested by them or the client not to do so. All e-mails sent and the attachments thereto should be scanned for viruses by the recipient.

33. MONEY LAUNDERING REQUIREMENTS:

I operate a money laundering reporting procedure as required by law whereby, in the event of any suspicion as to money laundering, information will be revealed to the appropriate authorities. All payments to my client account must be made via a UK clearing bank. Cash payment will be accepted where it falls below £500. Clients will be required to provide satisfactory proof of identity and full details of the source and proposed destination of funds. Pending this, funds may be frozen and I will not accept any responsibility for loss or delay caused by the failure of clients to provide such information promptly.

34. COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE:

This notarial practice is regulated by the faculty office of the Archbishop of Canterbury (The Faculty Office 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JT E-Mail faculty.office@1thesanctuary.com / www.facultyoffice.org.uk). If you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact me. If the matter cannot be resolved immediately, I will refer your complaint to the Notaries Society of which I am a member, who have a Complaints Procedure which is approved by the Faculty Office, who will refer the complaint to be considered by one or several independent notaries. 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

Christopher Vaughan,

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 Faculty Office for assistance on 020 7222 5381. 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 eight weeks 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 PO 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 may refer your matter to the legal ombudsman within 6 months from the conclusion of the complaints process