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Sheffield Notary Public

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Sheffield Notary Public

What is a Notary Public?

A Notary Public is a qualified solicitor and part of the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in the UK. Notaries are appointed and regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

A central part of the notary’s role is the validation or authentication of legal documents for use in other parts of the world. In addition, they provide documentary evidence in the form of a notarial certificate which may be used or required by a foreign court or official body.

Anna Cattee is Ironmonger Curtis’ resident Notary and is an experienced commercial solicitor as well as a Notary Public.

Anna is a partner in our Sheffield company commercial department.

What does a Notary Public do?

English notaries are mainly used for the authentication of signatures and documents for use overseas.

Notarial services for individuals

As the number of people who work, live and invest abroad has grown over the years, so has the need for notaries. Here are some examples of how Anna can help:

  • Certifying university degree certificates and educational qualifications for use with foreign job applications;
  • Witnessing powers of attorney for use overseas. This is a common requirement for individuals purchasing or selling property abroad;
  • Preparing certificates of freedom to marry where individuals wish to celebrate their marriage abroad;
  • Notarising documents to deal with the administration of the estates of people who are located abroad, such as birth, marriage and death certificates;
  • Execution of wills for jurisdictions that require a notary, for example Spain and Jersey;
  • Administering oaths, affidavits and statutory declarations for use abroad;
  • Certifying identity documents such as passports and driving licences.

Notarial services for Companies

English companies who trade internationally may find they need a notary for a wide range of documents used in international trade. The following are examples of documents that Anna has notarised for corporate clients:

  • Authenticating constitutional documents, such as certificates of incorporation, change of name certificates, resolutions and articles of association;
  • Powers of attorney where a company wishes to appoint an individual abroad to act on the company’s behalf;
  • Witnessing documents signed by directors for use abroad.


The person or institution requesting a document to be notarised may also require the signature and seal of an English notary to be authenticated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, this is called an Apostille.

Depending on the country, it may then also need to be sent to the Embassy or Consulate of the country in which the document is to be used. This process is known as legalisation.

Anna will be able to advise in advance what form of legalisation is required and the cost.

The Process

Before a Notary can witness your signature to a document, she has to be satisfied about:

  • Your identity. Please bring your passport and a recent utility bill. This is usually conclusive proof that you are who you say you are! If the document declares that you are married, you should produce your marriage certificate as evidence of your marriage.
  • Your legal capacity. i.e. that you are over the age of 18 and not subject to any disability that might affect the transaction.
  • Your authority, if you are acting on someone else’s behalf. This authority could be a Power of Attorney or a company appointment. Please speak with the notary before your appointment if you are acting on someone else’s behalf.
  • Your understanding of the document to be signed and your willingness to be bound by it. This can is not possible if the document produced is in a foreign language with no English translation. Therefore, you must request the document to be written in English or both the language of the country where it is being used and English. Please speak with the notary before your appointment if the document is not in English.


Please note that it is not the Notary’s responsibility to advise you about the law of the country where the document is to be used, nor about the legal effect of the document in that country.

Advance notice

The Notary will require a copy of any document to be notarised twenty-four hours or so in advance or any arranged meeting to enable her to review the documents. Sometimes the documents are incorrect or need amending on then any booked meeting may need to be rearranged.


The duty of a Notary Public involves a high standard of care and is not just a ‘rubber-stamping’ exercise. In order to provide you with a quote, please provide a description of the document which needs notarising together with a copy of the same. The fees are based upon the time it will take her when she is able to assess what work is required, upon review she will provide you with a quote.


Subject to availability, the notary should be able to see you within a day or two of request. Please contact us and we can confirm when the notary is free to see you. If the document does not need any form of legalisation, then upon payment you will be able to take the document away for use. If it needs to be sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for an Apostille, this will be done on the same or next working business day of your meeting with the notary. It can take any time from a few days to three weeks for the FCO to return the document with the Apostille. Once sent, this timescale is outside of the control of the notary. If the document needs further legalising at a consulate then you will be advised by any agent appointed on the potential timescales as these vary. Please note that if you are obtaining a verification of a certificate then the notary needs to verify this with relevant third parties and those timescales may not be known.


In the interests of notarial clients, IC Law Limited maintains professional indemnity insurance at a level of at least £1,000,000.00 per claim in respect of notarial matters.


The Notarial work of Anna Cattee is regulated through the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury:

The Faculty Office
1, The Sanctuary

Telephone 020 7222 5381
Email Faculty.office@1thesanctuary.com
Website www.facultyoffice.org.uk 

If you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact Anna on anna.cattee@ironmongercurtis.com.

If we are unable to resolve the matter you may then complain to the Notaries Society of which Anna is a member, who have a Complaints Procedure which is approved by the Faculty Office.  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 :-

The Secretary of The Notaries Society
Old Church Chambers
23 Sandhill Road
St James

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 Notaries Society/the Faculty Office for assistance.

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 6 months 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
P O Box 6806

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 must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman :-

  • Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and
  • 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.

*certain kinds of commercial entities are not eligible to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman – please refer to the Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules or consult the Faculty Office.

For business law advice call 0845 225 2635


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