What is the benefit of a multi-lingual notary?

  • by Kaya Thompson
  • 04 Apr, 2017
Posted:   18th September 2014
London–based businesses with international interests might often find themselves in need of the services of a London notary public. Foreign Commercial Registries, Regulatory Bodies, Courts and business partners among others might request that certain corporate documents be “notarised”. These documents can be split into two broad categories: – those which need to be signed by a representative of the company and those where no signature is required.

Attesting signature, capacity and authority

One of the key regulations which govern the notarial profession in England and Wales, the Notaries Practice Rules 2014, makes it clear that notaries are not permitted to certify documents prepared in a language other than English of which they do not have sufficient knowledge. Given the international role played by notaries in this country, the ability to converse as well as prepare documents and attestations in foreign languages cannot be overstated. The benefits from using a notary who is fluent in the language in which a document is prepared are numerous.

First, the time it takes to complete transactions will be reduced. The multi-lingual notary can assist a client’s understanding of the documentation and, upon request, will also provide the necessary certification in the same language. Secondly, this has the added advantage of saving costs. By being able to explain the content of foreign language documents and issuing certifications in these languages, multi-lingual notaries further assist their clients by avoiding the expense of arranging translations. Such translations would, by necessity, be of the documentation at hand, but they may also extend to the certifications issued by the notary.

Another key advantage of multi-lingual notaries is their ability to communicate successfully with all parties, both those in the UK and those in the country where the document will take effect. The ability of multi-lingual notaries to liaise with foreign lawyers and authorities at an early stage in order to determine how a document must be prepared and certified will help reduce any potential bottlenecks in a given transaction.

Notarial Services London

If you instruct a London notary public the chances are that you have engaged the services of a scrivener notary. This highly qualified and specialised branch of the notarial profession have, as part of their training, undertaken examinations in at least two foreign languages other than English. This particular aspect of their qualification allows scrivener notaries to issue certified translations of documents in their approved languages.

Additionally, scrivener notaries have been assessed in the law and legal system of the jurisdiction of their principle foreign language. Therefore, as well as having all the benefits associated with multi-lingual notaries, a scrivener notary is able to offer clients enhanced notarial services. By having knowledge of a foreign legal system scrivener notaries are able not only to provide the appropriate certification but also ensure that the document to which it relates fulfils the requirements of the country in which it will be used. A good example to illustrate this point is a power of attorney given by a UK-registered company in favour of its Spanish lawyers.

Whilst a multi-lingual notary may be able to certify the power of attorney in the Spanish language, a scrivener notary will do this in addition to advising clients of the requirements that the power of attorney must fulfil in order to be valid in Spain. Upon instruction, the scrivener notary will therefore amend the power of attorney in Spanish if the case dictates. This extra level of service provided by scrivener notaries stems from both their specialised training and their unrivalled experience in such matters.

De Pinna - London Notary Insights

by Allan Carton 31 May, 2017

As useful as it would be, there is no rule or provision in this country that neatly sets out what types of documents a notary can or cannot certify. 

The one fundamental principle , however, is that there must be some form of document that is intended to have legal effect and which will be relied upon by another party. For example, a power of attorney is a document frequently encountered and certified by notaries. A work of art, on the other hand, would not fit this description. Against the backdrop of this general position a London Notary Public will assess whether there is any fraud, violence or other illegality involved, such as money laundering or tax evasion. If any of these points come to light the particular notary may decline to act and, if applicable, contact the police or file a disclosure with the UK’s National Crime Agency etc.

Those documents which may be notarised can be divided into two broad groups. 

1]  The first group concerns those documents where a Public Notary in London witnesses a signature taking place . This could range from a private client granting a deed of gift (where the notary will certify the signature, identity and capacity of the person making the gift as well as the binding nature of the act) to a company trade mark assignment (where the London Notary will attest the signature and identity of the appearing party, the legal status of the company being represented, its capacity to enter into this type of document, the signatory’s authority to act and the valid execution of the document). 

2]  The second group, by contrast, relates to documents which can be issued by notaries without the need for any party to sign in front of them . Examples of this include the provision of a certificate of law or the notarisation of a UK-registered company’s memorandum and articles of association following an inspection of the appropriate file at Companies House.

Whilst there is no exhaustive list of what documents can be notarised , the following are those which are frequently attested by notaries: statutory declarations and affidavits, powers of attorney, corporate minutes and resolutions, deeds of transfer of title, share purchase agreements, loan and finance agreements and certified copies.

Notaries in London have a wealth of expertise when it comes to what documents can be certified and what procedure must be followed. It is frequently the case that notaries familiar with the subject-area will be able to provide advice on the nature and effect of a document, its drafting as well as its correct execution.  A London Notary Public will then usually be able to offer clients additional "legalisation" services . This means that these notaries will be able to assist not just with the certification of a specific document, but also its inter-country validation through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (known as the “Apostille” procedure) and/or a particular Embassy or Consulate.

by Allan Carton 04 Apr, 2017

We deal regularly with documents relating to protection of patents, copyright, trademarks and industrial designs when clients want to protect their brand, products and service in markets across the world. If you trading abroad, this video gives a useful introduction to steps you should take.  We can help you notarise, legalise and translate documents; and with the benefit of our experience and global contacts, we can also help you find lawyers, patent attorneys and others advisors to help you get this right first time.

by Allan Carton 04 Apr, 2017
As a London notary public, we notarise documents to be used in other countries on a daily basis.   Having an insight into the legal system operating in a particular country and being able to speak the language is of real benefit to the notary and his or her client.  As a leading provider of notarial services London, De Pinna is often asked to notarise documents for Italy.  Our specialist Italian department are on hand to provide this service.

Some of the questions clients often ask us are:

Q:  I need to sign a document which is entirely in Italian. I don’t speak the language. Can you help?

A:  The answer is yes, absolutely. One of the primary duties of a London Notary Public is to ensure that the client fully understands the content of any document signed before him or her. De Pinna has a team of notaries and support staff who are mother tongue or fluent Italian speakers. We also work closely with a highly skilled panel of translators. Where clients do not speak Italian, we are able to arrange a suitable English translation of the text.

Q: I speak Italian but my lawyer and the notary in Italy do not. Does this mean I need to have the notarisation translated into Italian?

A:  The notaries at De Pinna always issue notarial certifications which are to be used in Italy; directly in the Italian language (unless instructed otherwise). This saves the time and expense involved in having an Italian translation made of a notarial certification issued in English.
Q:  I have an Italian friend / family member / client who needs to sign a document in front of a notary but s/he doesn’t speak English. Can you help?

A:  Yes, our bilingual team is able to communicate with clients in Italian during meetings and also in any correspondence before the meeting takes place.

Q:  What documents can you notarise for Italy?

A:   There is no exhaustive list of documents De Pinna can notarise. In truth, a provider of notarial services London will react to the requirements of the country where the documentation is required. A London notary public will generally deal with a mix of both private and corporate client documentation and this is no different for the Italian Department at De Pinna. Powers of Attorney, Declarations, Board Resolutions, Certified Copies of Academic and Professional Qualifications are just some of the documents we see on a regular basis.

Q:  I’ve been told that I also need to get an “Apostille” after the document has been notarised. What is this and can you help?
A:   The “Apostille” was established by the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents of 5th October 1961. Both the UK and Italy are members to this treaty and as such public documents (including acts issued by a London notary public) issued with an Apostille stamp in one country will be accepted in the other. In the UK, the Apostille is issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The Apostille essentially confirms the authenticity of a notary’s signature and seal. De Pinna has a team of messengers who attend the FCO each day to obtain Apostilles on our client’s behalf.

Q:  What do I need to bring to the appointment?

A:  This will vary according to many factors such as the nature of the document and whether it is a private or corporate matter. Our Italian department will be able to advise you fully prior to any meeting taking place.

Q:  How much will it all cost?

A:  The fee charged by providers of notarial services in London will vary according to the nature and complexity of the work carried out as well as the time it takes. Please email us copies of all the documentation in advance in order to obtain a cost estimate.

For more information, please call us on +44 (0)20 7208 2900.

by Kaya Thompson 04 Apr, 2017
Posted:   18th September 2014
by Kaya Thompson 04 Apr, 2017

Notaries form the third and oldest branch of the legal profession in England and Wales. Despite this, the role they play and the services they provide remain relatively unknown to many in this country. However, due to London’s position as a major global trading centre, for many firms in the capital the services of a notary are invaluable when conducting business around the world. Calling upon the  services of a London notary public   will be a regular occurrence for Company Secretarial and legal departments of companies with international interests.

The notary’s role is to make certifications of fact and law so that they may be relied upon by others. As opposed to Solicitors whose primary duty is to their client, the notary’s primary duty is to the transaction itself. In the vast majority of cases, it will be a party overseas who is the ultimate recipient of the notary’s certification. In the case of Scrivener Notaries – a specialist, linguistically trained, branch of the profession providing notarial services in London – the notarial certification will often be issued directly in the language of the country in which it is to be used.

The form the notary’s certification takes will depend on the requirements of the receiving jurisdiction. The most common form of “notarisation” requires the Notary to certify the signature, and where appropriate also the capacity and authority of one or more parties to a legal document.


Where a London notary public is required to certify signatures, the signatories will usually need to appear before the notary in person. The signatories will also need to identify themselves to the notary by production of a valid passport, national identity document or other acceptable proof of identity. In addition the notary will also need to see proof of the signatories’ residential address such as a recently issued bank statement, utility bill or council tax bill. It’s advisable to clarify what proof of identity and address will be acceptable to the notary before booking an appointment. 

The notary may also need to ascertain that the signatories appearing before him have the necessary capacity and authority to act, particularly where they are representing a company or other legal entity. In such circumstances the notary will be able to advise what further documentation is required.


The certification of signatures is not the only type of attestation that an individual or company might require from a provider of notarial services in London. Notaries are often called upon to certify the authenticity of documents such as academic qualifications or copies of corporate documents held on file by the UK Commercial Registry – Companies House. These services can often be provided remotely through email correspondence.

In addition a London notary public may often be called upon to provide certified translations of legal and commercial documents or arrange legalisation by “Apostille” or at the Consulate or Diplomatic Mission of the country where the document is to be used. Again, it will often be possible for this to be arranged without the need for a meeting between the client and notary.

For more information, please call us on +44 (0)20 7208 2900.  
by Allan Carton 06 Feb, 2017

You can assure your clients and your own senior management team that documents entrusted to us will be kept secure and confidential when they leave your possession.

There are more risks today than ever before that their security and confidentiality could be breached, so that assurance is critical. We can give it … with confidence.

As specialist multi-lingual notaries working with businesses that operate internationally – including more than a third of all the FTSE 100 – we handle an array of often commercially sensitive documents; for example, related to new intellectual property registrations, new business launches, mergers and acquisitions in countries around the world for companies operating out of the UK..

“Our ISO 27001 certification (probably unique amongst specialist Notary practices) demands that De Pinna focus constantly on maintaining and improving our information technology and security techniques, by implementing, communicating and pro-actively monitoring Internationally Recognised Best Practice Information Security Controls.” ( Phillip Journeaux, Partner )

It is essential that these documents remain secure; that their confidentiality is protected and kept away from prying eyes as they are processed through us for a) notarisation, b) legalisation at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and relevant Consulates and c) translation in local languages for the countries where these documents are to be used, where that is needed or can be beneficial.According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, May 2015: 23% of people open phishing emails and 11% open the attachments in those emails.

“Our people know not to .. and they don’t!” (Nick Georgoulis, IT Manager)

Risks of breaches in security and confidentiality are on the increase; significantly, primarily from “cyber breaches” on one way or another. In spite of all the talk about “hacking” and “phishing” (which are serious risks that need to be guarded against) the biggest risk to security and confidential data arises from the activities of employees; either through intentional mischievous and illegal acts or, more frequently, down to negligence, error, indifference and carelessness.

The IT-related threat believed to have the greatest impact on an organisation’s ability to be cyber resilient and the most likely to occur is human error. ( Ponemon Institute Research Report, Jan 2016 )
It is well worth registering for and reading that Ponemon report “The Cyber Resilient Organisation in the United Kingdom: Learning to Thrive against Threats” as there are some excellent pointers there on how to tackle document and data security issues in any business.

“Getting engagement from partners and employees to adopt the disciplines that are essential to protect data and documents is the most difficult challenge – but we have managed that successfully!” (Ryan Moody, Partner)

Just some examples of the steps we take to ensure protection of data and documents:

  • CCTV cameras in all areas of our offices
  • Security vetting of all employees.
  • Internal procedures and operations audited and adapted to ensure compliance with internationally recognised best practice.
  • Employee workshops and forums to constantly evaluate and improve security
  • Encryption of emails and documents during transit.
  • Retention of all documents in ISO27001 accredited IT systems
  • Rigid access controls to all areas of our offices
  • Personal carriage of documents to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and consulates by our own vetted employees.

… and much more.

Ensuring document and data security and confidentiality is a strategic commitment from the management team. Day to day compliance is now routine for all employees and an integral part of the business. (Phillip Journeaux, Partner)

If you want to find out more about our journey   to achieve and maintain ISO 27001, how it can help you and your clients; or even how what we have done might inform your own plans for introducing ISO 27001 or more effective data security in your team or your business – please feel free to call me on my DDI: +44 (0)20 7208 2943, get in touch here or at phillipj@depinna.co.uk

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