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The difference between a solicitor and a notary

30th August 2019

The profession of Notary and Solicitor are quite separate and independent, perform different  functions and are separately regulated.

Unlike Solicitors, qualification as a Notary requires a detailed study of and examination in private international law, as well as the requirements of overseas jurisdictions as to the form in which documents should be executed and delivered, including any formalities such as the Apostille and Embassy legalisation. Notaries are qualified to advise in these areas, as well as Notarial practice generally and are also insured to deal with foreign documents.

Unlike Solicitors, a Notary maintains a register and protocol of all instruments authorised in his or her presence, ensuring the highest degree of record maintenance. This means that the Acts of Notaries in England and Wales may be relied upon for their accuracy, and are fully verifiable by those showing a proper interest.

Experience shows that using the services of a solicitor to deal with documents required for use overseas can and does lead to the rejection of the documents in the receiving jurisdiction. This results in wasted time and cost and usually considerable inconvenience to the clients when the documents are not processed correctly.

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The US and UK: Two different legal systems

18th July 2019

The constitution

The US operates a case law system applying a standard law system that uses past judgments. The British legal system does not have a constitution. It uses acts of parliament and precedents which can be traced back to the Magna Carta in 1215. Furthermore, Scottish law uses both civil and common law. However, there is no document as a primary form that will create and derive the code such as constitution in the US.


In the UK, the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) prosecutes on behalf of the Crown. If they find enough evidence to pursue the case to the courts, they will subject the matter to the trial by jury. However, if there is nothing that could link the wrongful side with the breaking of the law, the case will not go to court.

Random Selection of Juries

In the US, there are counselors for the prosecution and defence that select and agree upon the juries. In the English system, the jury selection is random.

Barristers and Solicitors

The US legal system uses different terminology to that of the UK. For example, in the US, everyone who enters the courtroom is a lawyer, but in the UK, there are two types of lawyer: barristers and solicitors.
Solicitors offer a wide range of legal services such as drafting legal documents and offering advice. They can also represent clients in court. Barristers are the courtroom experts. The solicitor will often instruct a barrister to represent his/her client in court.

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Understanding powers of attorney

12th April 2019

A power of attorney is a deed by which one person authorises another to act on his behalf and in his name as his attorney, i.e. as his agent, either generally or in some particular matter. Attorney is someone who is appointed by another to act in his place. He may also be called donee of the power. The person who gives this power is known as the principal or donor. Their relation is one of agency.

By law, a corporate body can also appoint an attorney to act on its behalf. The Powers of Attorney Act 1971 prescribes the modes of execution of deeds by an attorney on behalf of a corporation. Depending on the consitution of the company, the directors may, by power of attorney or otherwise, appoint any person to be the agent of the company for such purposes and on such conditions as they determine, including authority for the agent to delegate all or any of his powers.

Our notary public practice handles powers of attorney for use abroad on a regular basis. Often the document will be in a foreign language and reference foreigh laws in the body of the document. We will sometimes need to translate the power of attorney using a qualified translator so that all parties can have faith that the signatories understood the content of the power of attorney. In France a power of attorney is referred to as a “procuraton” and in Spain as a “Poder”.

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Certificates of existence for Germany

22nd March 2019

We often find company clients intending to incorporate German subsidiaries required to produced such documents.

Whenever a company engages in a legal transaction in Germany, it is normally necessary to demonstrate its existence and the legal authority of its representatives.A certificate of existence and representation is a document that confirms the legal existence/good standing of a company and the authority/powers of its representatives to act for and on behalf of it.

A certificate of existence is of particular importance for matters involving the German Public Register (for example: the incorporation of a German company).

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The Chinese Embassy has introduced new rules for legalisation of documents

22nd March 2019

For any private matters the appearer is required to provide a photocopy of his/her valid ID (e.g passport or Driving Licence), furthermore, the name on the official ID copy produced must be exactly the same as the document(s) to be notarised - any discrepancy i.e different name(s) not shown then the document(s) will be rejected.

For commercial documents the Embassy requires the legal representative's passport along with a Companies House document which shows the legal status of the company and of its representative . All names need to be correct.

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