Member of the Notaries Society
Neil Oakes

The notarial profession is by far the oldest branch of the legal profession in England and Wales. A notary, also known as a notary public, is a qualified legal official appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Frequently Asked Notary Questions

What is legalisation?

Legalisation is the process of having a notary’s certificate or document authenticated by a competent authority to make it acceptable in the receiving legal jurisdiction. The competent authority in England and Wales is the Legalisation Office of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office which issues a certificate called an apostille to legalise the document. Sometimes further legalisation at the receiving jurisdiction’s consulate is also required.

What is an apostille?

An apostille is a certificate that is attached to my documents by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office confirming that my signature and seal of office are genuine and that I am a public officer duly authorised to issue notarial documents. Each apostille is dated and has a unique reference number.

How long will it take to have my documents notarised?

This depends on the nature of the document. Powers of Attorney to deal with land in Spain, for example, can be dealt with at short notice. They require an apostille and this usually takes about three business days to organise through me, slightly longer if you deal with it yourself.

Why do you charge more for obtaining an apostille?

The simple answer is that it involves me in more work. I try to keep my charges fair and reasonable and it did not seem fair to pitch fixed fees at a level that includes legalisation, as some clients who prefer to deal with this themselves would be penalised. I therefore give clients the option of having their document simply notarised; or notarised and legalised.

What if I have a complaint?

I am a member of the Notaries Society who operate a formal complaints procedure supervised by The Faculty Office. Click here to go to the downloads page where you can view my complaints procedure.

How can I pay for your services?

There are two payment options available: cash or bank transfer. Please note that I am unable to accept more than £350 in cash.

Please note that I am unable at present to accept payment by credit or debit card.

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Testimonials

Tania Wilson

I contacted Neil as I needed a Statutory Declaration of Status  produced and notarise... 
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