As a Notary Public I am a qualified lawyer with additional notarial qualifications awarded by the University of Cambridge, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and subject to both the Court of Faculties and stringent notarial and solicitors’ practice rules.
Notaries work for international commercial businesses as well as private individuals preparing and witnessing documents for use abroad and authenticating commercial and individual transactions, documents and events. A Notary Public can do all legal work except court litigation. A Notary authenticates or certifies a transaction or document by signing and sealing it with a seal unique to the individual notary. What the Notary does, whether drafting, witnessing, certifying or authenticating, is usually called the “notarial act”.
Notarial acts for use in Europe or foreign countries have to be “legalised” or authenticated further by Her Majesty’s government. This is done by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the UK embassy of the foreign country in which the document will be used adding an apostille or certificate which confirms that the acting Notary’s seal and signature are authentic.