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Cotswolds Notary

Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions I get asked about my notarial services.

Cotswolds Notary

I provide quotes on a fixed fee basis. No VAT is charged. 

My professional charges are based upon:

Timescale of transaction 

The complexity of the matter

Communications / correspondence with client 

Communications / correspondence with foreign lawyer/adviser

Review of disclosed documentation

Travel and / or waiting time 

Meeting attendance  

Completion of Direct Notarial Certificate  

Assistance with apostille legislation

Facilitating delivery of documentation 

My professional charges are reviewed frequently.  

These are charged in addition to the fixed fee, they include but are not limited to: 

Legalisation fees payable to the Foreign Common Wealth and Development Office 

Legalisation fees payable to foreign consulates

Consular agents’ fees

Postage charges

Domestic and international courier charges 

Professional translator’s fees 

Once full instructions have been received, documentation has been disclosed, and communication with your overseas advisor have commenced, the fixed fee will be provided and disbursements will be estimated. 

A revised fixed fee and new estimate of disbursements will be issued if: you or your overseas advisor change the initial instructions; further documentation is disclosed that requires notarisation; additional meetings are required, for example, signatories forget to bring ID or documentation, or client witnesses do not attend when instructed to do so; and disbursement costs increase, which are beyond my control.

The key stages of a matter will vary depending on the nature of the act, the complexity of the matter and timescale it will take to complete the instructions. 

For every instruction I shall set out the key stages and estimated timescale of my service. As a minimum I would anticipate that the following considerations and tasks would be undertaken: 

1. A review of the disclosed documentation; 

2. Correspondence / communications with the client and overseas legal advisor; 

3. A meeting to ascertain a client’s capacity, intention to be bound and understanding of the matter;

4. Drafting a notarial certificate;

5. Finalising the documentation (emboss seal, affix stamp, sew pages etc.); and 

6. Legalisation arrangements (if required).

Each client instruction will be dealt with on a bespoke basis, and therefore every new instruction received will receive a both a cost estimate and key stage outline, with the anticipated timescale specified. If instructions change, then a revised cost estimate will be submitted.  

To facilitate a prompt and proper service prior preparation of documentation and draft documents may be necessary. Therefore, an early discussion of the outline requirements is recommended. 

Saving of a client’s time and expense can be achieved if, in advance of a meeting the originals, or complete and exact photocopies, of documentation, correspondence and instructions from the advisor in the overseas foreign jurisdiction is disclosed. 

Copies of client identification to be sent in advance of any meeting, and original identification documentation to be disclosed at the meeting. Documents should not be bound, as these may have to re-bound with a notarial certificate.

Retention of copy documents, ancillary or in support of a notarial act, and copies or duplicates of the notarial act, shall be retained in accordance with notarial practice rules and to form part of my notarial register / record. 

All documentation and identification will be held in accordance with my data protection policy and the notarial practice rules. 

Translations may be required in order to complete a notarial act. If required I can arrange or advise on this aspect. Cost of instructing a professional translator is charged to the client. 

It may be necessary to have an initial meeting, then a final meeting to complete the notarial act. Attendance at my office or elsewhere, if more convenient, can be arranged. Travel and meeting room bookings at another location other than my office are expenses chargeable to a client. 

As a notary public I must verify client identity, to rule out any risk of identity theft or fraud and ensure compliance with anti-money laundering regulations. Whether you are a private individual or a company director or secretary, I require disclosure of government issued identification. 

At my discretion and to my satisfaction I am required to obtain proof of identity, any represented legal capacity and authority. 

The following types of identification will be accepted. A valid government issued passport or identity card and an unexpired UK photo style driving licence. As a fraud prevention measure at the meeting I shall examine government issued identification under UV light. I will take copies of disclosed identification and retain these on file. My data protection policy details how personal data is handled, this will be provided after instructions have been received. 

For individual clients I require proof of address, which can be a bank statement or utility bill, no more than three months old. Proof may be required, with production of appropriate certificates where applicable, of birth, baptism, marriage, divorce, deed poll on change of name, or statutory declaration. 

For corporate clients I undertake searches at Companies House and The Gazette, and make enquires with any of the appointed directors and/or the secretary, to verify the status of the company. The type of proof and information required for corporate clients will depend on the circumstances and service required. Company searches in support or proof of certain corporate acts, which are obtained direct from Companies House, are at the cost of the client. Time should be allowed to obtain these in advance of any personal attendance.

Additional authentication by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office endorsement, and/or the endorsements of the relevant High Commission/Embassy/Consulate of the country in which it is proposed to use the document the subject of a notarial act, is sometimes required by the overseas receiving jurisdictions. Such authentication is obtained by me at the expense of the client, and applied for by post. If the matter is urgent the client may have to attend in person or incur courier charges.

At the outset please advise me on any deadlines that must be adhered to. It is of importance that I am aware of these so that I can provide a prompt and proper service to you. If I cannot help you within the specified timeframe or by a particular deadline, then I shall notify you that I cannot assist. I shall refer you to another notary public, or you can conduct your own search for a notary public using The Faculty Office website.

As a notary public I have a duty to the transaction and the authenticity of the documentation. 

Please disclose the contact details of the foreign lawyer in the receiving jurisdiction, which is the foreign country where the documentation is intended to be used. I can then make contact to introduce myself and confirm the instructions. 

It is necessary for me to seek clarification from the foreign lawyer / advisor that the disclosed documentation has been professionally drafted, and will ‘work’ in the receiving jurisdiction.

When the receiving jurisdiction (the overseas country where the documentation is intended to be used) is a member of the Hague Apostille Convention, it will accept the signature and seal of a notary public, if it has been certified by the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), on behalf of the British Government. This process is known as apostille, and I can assist with this if you wish. 

Disbursements will be charged for obtaining an apostille and using the services of a document courier service to the receiving jurisdiction. 

The standard apostille service in Milton Keynes costs £30 per document, plus courier fees or postage, which takes about a week. 

If the matter is urgent, the London premium same-day business service costs £75 per document. Documents must be dropped off and collected, which can be arranged by a legalisation agent for a fee. 

When the receiving jurisdiction is not a party of the Apostille Convention and the foreign recipient requires verification of my signature and seal, then consular legalisation must be applied for. 

The foreign lawyer in the receiving jurisdiction must verify whether the documentation will need to be sent to the appropriate Embassy in London for legalisation. If it does then I can assist with this, if you wish. 

The first step in the process is sending my notarial certificate, with the necessary documentation, to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), where my signature and seal are certified. There are options for this, depending if the matter is urgent or not, with different FCDO fees payable. Disbursements will be charged for this, which includes the fee and postage or courier charge, and an agent’s fee (if instructed).  

The next stage is contacting the Embassy in London. Fees for the consulate process frequently vary. Here the signature of the FCDO representative and seal of the FCDO are certified. As above, disbursements will be charged. This process takes extra time, and how long depends on the Embassy’s workload.

To help ensure compliance with the latest consular requirements, I instruct a consular agent who charges a fee. An international courier charges will be incurred to send the necessary documentation to the receiving jurisdiction.

With every new instruction I send out: my terms of business; a cost estimate; the key stages & timescale summary; a data protection policy; the complaints procedure; and, when applicable, consumer rights information. This information is sent out with an acceptance form, which must be signed, dated and returned to confirm agreement to my terms of business and to acknowledge receipt of the data protection policy, complaints procedure and, when applicable, consumer rights information. 

Once instructions have been completed and my notarial certificate has been finalised I shall submit my invoice for payment. Disbursements must be paid before the documentation is sent for legalisation (if required). My costs are required to be paid before I send out my notarial act. Payment can be made by bank transfer. My invoice will contain the amount due, sort code and account number.


Record Keeping

As a notary I have a legal duty to keep records, and keep proper records or notarial acts. 

I must record:

The date of the notarial act. 

The person who requested the act. 

The person intervening (if applicable). 

Method of identification. 

Evidence of a person’s entitlement to intervene (when applicable). 

The nature of the act. 

The fee charged. 


As a notary public I have a legitimate interest to retain personal data and full records of the service provided, this is to confirm that a proper service has been delivered, to verify the fact a notarial act has been issued, to deal with a complaint or respond to an accusation of notarial misconduct, and deal with any further work arising. 

My notarial records will contain an file of the notarial act, copies of identification documentation, correspondence, and evidence of authority to act. 

I will preserve records digitally, in an unalterable format, for 12 years, when the notarial act is in private form. 

When a public form notarial act is carried out the records are retained indefinitely. 


I have a legal obligation to ensure my professional services are not used to further a criminal process. I must act with integrity, upload the law, and not engage in criminal activity. My practice complies with anti-money laundering legislation. 

My notarial practice is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Faculty Office, 1, The Sanctuary, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JT. 

Email: . Website: . 

In the event you are dissatisfied with my service, please contact me. If I am unable to resolve the issue, you may then contact the Notaries Society, of which I am a member. The Notaries Society Complaints Procedure is free and is approved by the Faculty Office. Write to (but do not enclose original documentation): The Secretary of The Notaries Society, PO Box 7655, Milton Keynes, MK11 9NR. Email: .  If you have difficulty writing, then please telephone The Notaries Society. Tel: 01604 758908. 

You can refer a compliant direct to the legal ombudsman eight weeks from the date you submitted a complaint to me, or once the Notaries Society Approved Complaints Procedure has concluded, if the outcome is not to your satisfaction. Legal Ombudsman, PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ. 

Tel: 0300 555 0333. Email: . Website:

The deadline for referring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman is: within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint, and either 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.

NOTE: some types of commercial entities cannot make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. For more information please refer to the Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules or The Faculty Office.

The information provided on this website is intended only to provide a general overview. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal or other advice. It is not a substitute for obtaining specific advice on any particular facts. Ellen Marie Baxter Beecroft accepts no responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained in this site or those to which links are provided.

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