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Understanding the Difference between a Notary and a Solicitor

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In the UK there are times when a person needs to make use of either a Notary or a Solicitor. The former is a smaller specialized branch of law that prepares and certifies documents abroad. A solicitor can be a Notary as well, so as well as practicing more extensive fields of law can also act and perform Notary services. Most Notaries are also solicitors in fact, but not all. The reverse is not true, there are plenty of law practitioners that are not a notary London and elsewhere in the UK.

Notary versus Solicitor

As mentioned the primary difference between the two is that the notary specializes in the authentication and certification of signatures and documents. Solicitors can perform the same role but then have other responsibilities too. They can offer representation and advice to clients on a wide array of legal issues. In most cases, a solicitor can perform the function of a notary but there are some limited occasions when an authority abroad may insist on a notary public signature only.

Another difference though is the fee they charge. Surprising to some is that the Notary public Central London and the rest of the UK tend to charge a higher fee for the service than a solicitor does. To sign a document for example usual fees from the latter are between ten to twenty-five pounds, whereas the Notary London will charge possibly up to one hundred pounds for that signature.

So why would you use a Notary over a solicitor if the fee is so different? Sometimes documents specify that the signature and witness has to be by a Notary public only so you have to abide by that. If however you just need basic certification a solicitor will do. If you do not know which is needed, contact the people you are getting your documentation done for.

Another thing worth noting is that whereas for a solicitor their main duty and responsibility is to their client, a Notary’s is actually to the authenticity of the documents. Notary Publics are accepted globally so have to be trusted for their impartiality and complete integrity.

What do they certify?

Notary Public Central London and elsewhere can sign, witness and certify a range of documents. They also need to do this before an apostille can be attached. An example of some documents includes;

  • Resolutions and agreements
  • Contracts and company documents
  • Academic qualifications and certificates
  • Deed Polls
  • Driving licenses and passports
  • POA (Power of attorney)
  • Last testaments and wills
  • Declarations and affidavits

Some have rubber stamps they use on documentation as well as signing them. They also can declare it has been witnessed by or signed in my presence and will also note that a copy is a true copy of the original.