A Guide to Notary Service Fees

Posted: 16th June 2014

One of the first questions asked by a person when told that they need to have a document notarised is how much it will cost to do so. Various factors can affect the cost of notarial services in London, some of which will be outlined below.

Work carried out

The work that must be done by Notaries Public in London in order to notarise a document varies greatly. In some cases the Notary will merely have to verify the identity of the client and fill out a pre-drafted certification, and as a consequence the fees charged should be towards the lower end of the spectrum.

In other cases the Notary may have to verify not only the identity of the client, but the capacity in which they purport to act, in which case searches of overseas companies registries and correspondence with foreign lawyers may increase costs.

In attesting some documents, the Notary assumes responsibility for the translation of the document, and this will likewise have ramifications on cost, whether he or she needs to enlist the help of an external translator in order to check the same, or whether, being qualified to do so, checks it him or herself.

The number of documents which a client needs notarised will often have an effect on the fees charged. Where multiple copies of the same document are to be notarised, the Notary may take the view that, as the certification is identical, and thus the need for new checks on the content is removed, repeat certificates should be charged at a reduced price.

Location

Another factor which can affect the cost of notarial services in London is whether the Notary attends the client’s address or vice versa. The time spent attending a client’s address also has a bearing on fees charged. Time out of the office is lost time, so if a client expects a notary to attend an address and wait for a significant period of time (for other parties to arrive, for example), a bill factoring in the time spent, charged at the Notary’s hourly rate (equivalent to that of a top firm of solicitors based in the same geographical area) should be anticipated.

Legalisation

Leglisation is the process by which a document which has been signed by a public official (whether a Notary Public or Registrar etc) is rendered valid for use abroad. The quickest and simplest form of legalisation is the Apostille of the Hague Convention of 5th October 1961 on the legalisation of public documents, which in the United Kingdom is affixed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Some jurisdictions, in addition to or instead of the Apostille, require endorsement by their consulate. The fees charged by the consulates vary greatly, from a flat fee to a percentage cut of any figure quoted in the document.

Summary:

As a consequence there is no standard rule which can be applied to ascertain how much a document will cost to certify. For avoidance of any doubt, it is always best to send the Notary a copy of the document which needs to be notarised, stating how many copies need to be notarised, where the document is to be used, and whether legislation is required.

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