NOTARY OR SOLICITOR?
The practice of a Notary has two significant differences from that of a Solicitor (although most Notaries are also Solicitors).
First a Notary’s duty is to the transaction as a whole and not to just one of the parties. A Notary may therefore act for both parties to a transaction as long as there is no conflict between them and his duty is to ensure that the transaction they conclude is fair to both sides.
Secondly, a Notary identifies himself on documents by the use of his individual seal. Such seals have historical origins and are regarded by most other countries as of great importance for establishing the genuineness of a document.
A Notary’s seal will be registered with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and with many foreign embassies and consulates. Procedures exist for the seal to be further authenticated – a process called ‘legalization’.
Electronic recognition is a new development which has already been introduced in a number of countries, and is likely to be introduced in the United Kingdom within the next few years.