As a notary it is my duty to ensure that the people appearing before me (‘the appearors’) are properly identified and I require sight of the appearor’s current valid passport and a recent utility account or bank statement addressed to the appearor at his or her present address within the last two months. If the appearor’s passport is not available then other satisfactory evidence of identity such as a full driving licence, identity card or birth certificate will need to be produced.
All transactions by limited companies need to be supported by similar evidence of the appearing officers (the director, secretary or sealing officer) of the company and in some cases the relevant resolutions authorising the transaction. I will make a search at the Companies Registry to check the status of the company and its officers.
I do not advise appearors on the effect of the documents I am asked to authenticate and appearors should obtain advice from competent advisers as to what they are entering into. This frequently means obtaining advice from foreign lawyers acting for the appearors in the transaction. My duty is limited to ensuring that the appearors understand the nature of the transaction that they are entering into. This can present problems if the document is in a foreign language. If I am asked to work in a foreign language I do not understand sufficiently I may have to ask for a translation or restrict my authentication.
Many matters are dealt with at one appointment but when I have to prepare or read documents this will take longer and I will give you an estimate of how long a matter is likely to take when I see you for the first time.
I am able to prepare documents in French and German and translate these into English. I am also able to deal with straightforward documents in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian but I usually require a little time to read these through. In many cases when preparing foreign documents I am able to get these checked before completion by the lawyer or other adviser of the appearor by using email.
I keep a record in perpetuity of all documents I authenticate. Copies of my records can be made available for a fee to the parties to the transaction and to anyone else with good reason including the police, tax officials and courts. Under the legislation relating to money laundering some transactions may be reported to the Serious Organised Crime Agency.