In countries subscribing to The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents only one further act of certification is required, known as an apostille, and is issued by a government department (usually the Foreign Affairs Department or similar).
For other countries an "authentication" or "legalisation" must be issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the country from which the document is being sent or the Embassy, Consulate-General or High Commission of the country to which it is being sent.
The Notaries Profession in England is the oldest branch of the legal profession. Their origin can be traced back to the times of the occupation of Britain by the Romans.
Just like notaries in countries with civil law jurisdictions, Notary Publics carry out all kinds of non-contentious legal work. They are effectively civil law lawyers or notaries practising in a common law jurisdiction and are a bridge between the civil law jurisdictions and the common law jurisdictions of England and Wales. Ecclesiastical Notaries are members of the Ecclesiastical Law Society of England.
I, as London Notary Public Lawyer, prepare Notarial Acts including Authentic Acts mainly executed in England and Wales for use elsewhere in the world.
This will include drafting, review and explanation of documents for use outside the UK. I also draft wills and administer estates.
There are two basic types of Notarial Act; those in private form and those in public form for which there are Authentic Acts/Instruments.
The private form is when a Notary Public annexes a Notarial Certificate by way of authentication of a document thus converting it into a Notarial Act.
The public form is an Authentic Act/Instrument drafted by the Notary Public which will include verification of identity, legal capacity and understanding of the documents and awareness of the contents, and confirming authority to enter into the transaction e.g. in the case of a corporate body.
The role of the English Notaries in helping business and citizens is well recognised.
Notary Publics in England and Wales have had their Notarial acts recognised worldwide for centuries and this indeed has permitted citizens and businesses to circulate freely.
In this way, Notaries Public facilitate commerce and life for the ordinary citizen, as Notarial Acts enable them to go about their daily lives and business freely with reasonable cost and without undue delay.