Robert Innes-Ker is qualified by appointment to hold the office of a Notary Public.
He is able to fulfil the notarial requirements of, for example, authenticating contracts and powers of attorney for use abroad, verifying the existence and powers of a company, obtaining apostilles (a specific certificate) from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the legalisation of documents at foreign embassies.
The duty of a Notary is quite onerous and requires documents to be checked at great length.
A Notary established in England and Wales is an Officer of the Law and is subject to the regulation of the Court of Faculties.
A Notary's primary role is to act as an impartial and legally trained witness to authenticate and certify the execution of documents required or intended for use outside the United Kingdom. This service makes the documents acceptable, as proof of the matters attested or confirmed by the Notary, to the public or judicial authorities in the country where they are to be used.
In contrast to the role of a solicitor, the Notary's duty is to the transaction as a whole, to ensure that the transaction concluded is fair to both sides, and not just to one party. The Notary's responsibility does not extend to advising on the transaction in question.
A Notary can be identified by a seal personal to that Notary which is registered with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and other foreign embassies and consulates. FCO endorsement is required in some cases for use abroad, as an additional authentication to the notarised document (an apostille).
Notarial acts are relied on by clients, third parties and foreign governments and their officials. The Notary must therefore protect against error, omission, alterations, fraud and forgery. To this end the Notary is required to obtain proof (to his discretion and satisfaction) of identity, legal capacity and authority, the clients' understanding of the documentation, and interpretation or translation if the document involves other languages.
Authentication of company documents can require detailed and complex investigations. It may be necessary for the Notary to establish for himself that the company has been lawfully incorporated, that it has the powers to carry out the proposed transaction and that the company has authorised the officers or other individuals to sign on its behalf. Company searches may be required in support or as proof of certain corporate acts.
An example of the work a Notary does for an individual is to verify the documents required for a wedding abroad. When working for a company a Notary will often have to verify company documents to satisfy a parent company registered abroad that those documents are legitimate.