Many people are unaware of the highly specialised role of a Notary Public until they require the services of a Notary. Even Graham Norton struggled with the concept when I made an appearance in his famous Red Chair! Click here to see his reaction! GN RED CHAIR
Notaries form the oldest and smallest branch of the legal profession (there are far fewer Notaries than solicitors or barristers), and their roots can be traced back to ancient civilisations and Roman Law.
These days a Notary Public practising in the jurisdiction of England and Wales, will be a qualified lawyer who has completed a further specialist post-graduate training over a minimum 2 year period, which includes the study of Private International Law and Roman Law. There are currently less than 800 Notaries throughout England and Wales.
Historically Notaries would mark their individual sign on any document they notarised and this tradition continues today with each Notary Public having an individual seal, often bearing a design of personal significance to the Notary. The signature and seal of a Notary Public is registered with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other Embassies/Consulates and is recognised internationally.
You are most likely to require the services of a Notary Public whether as an individual or a business, where you have a document which is to be used overseas and the country in which the document is to be used, requires you to instruct a Notary in order to authenticate your document with their signature and personal seal. A solicitor who has not successfully completed the specialist training to be appointed a Notary Public will not be qualified to certify documents intended for use overseas in this way.