Robert Ryder
Notary Public




Many countries require an additional form of validation of documents, known as legalisation, over and above the signature and seal of a Notary


This involves either sending your documentation to the consular office of the relevant country for legalisation or alternatively, if that country has signed the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961, the document can have a certificate under the Hague Convention attached to it which is known as an apostille. The apostille confirms the authenticity of the signature and seal of the notary public. Some countries may also require both.


To check the status of a Contracting State, see the status table published on the HCCH website here.


In England and Wales, the apostille is only issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). The fee charged by the FCO is currently £30.00 for each apostille i.e. for each page that bears the signature and seal of the Notary.


I can send your document to have an apostille attached and will explain the legalisation process more fully when dealing with the documentation. You can deal with the FCO yourself. My fee for dealing with the apostille process is £75 plus VAT and the FCO fees. I can also arrange for a courier to deliver the document overseas at an additional cost currently £50 plus VAT.


If the documentation is needed urgently I offer an express service and, as a registered business user with the FCO, can use the Premium service. The documentation can be apostilled very quickly and returned to you on the same day.


  1. That the office of notary public in England and Wales is an ancient office with its origins back in Roman times.
  2. There are over 700 notaries practising In England and Wales compared to 150,000 solicitors and 15,000 practising barristers.
  3. The post of notary public is a church appointment. Up until 1533 notaries were appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury by the authority of the Pope in Rome. Then after the Reformation under King Henry the Eighth the Archbishop had sole authority which he exercises through the Court of Faculties in London, one of the oldest courts in England.
  4. Most documents for use abroad need to be witnessed or certified by a notary public whose role is to authenticate what is said so that anyone abroad can trust what the document states and confidently rely on it.
  5. On the continent, in Civil Law countries the notary also acts as tax collector and land registrar.
  6. Notaries in England and Wales must be fully insured and maintain fidelity cover in order to protect not only their clients but also third parties with whom they interact.
  7. All notaries have their own distinctive seal.
  8. Documents issued by a notary (called notarial acts) are universally recognised. In England and Wales, a notarial act or document may be received in court as evidence without further proof, under the Civil Procedure Rules – 32.20
  9. Whilst the office of notary public is a public role, the notary owes a duty of confidentiality to his clients and his papers can only be inspected by someone who has what is called a ‘proper interest’.