This does crop up every now and then and it is worth repeating.   I recently had a client come to see me in a desperate state.  His export goods were being held up at Customs in a certain South American country and weren’t being released because the paperwork wasn’t in order.    His money was also being held up….

To cut a very long story very short, his solicitor had attempted to Notarise some documents.  Not only had he done that wrong but he wasn’t properly qualified and his signature made the papers completely void. The solicitor wasn’t in any way being deceitful but he was very naïve to say the least to assume he possessed the skills let alone the legal qualification.    We were able to sort this out eventually for the client but not without some significant cost that the solicitor’s firm ended up paying.  (The solicitor had only charged the client £5 for his signature!  Remember, Notaries don’t rubber stamp documents)

Many, actually most, notaries are also solicitors.  It’s not the same the other way round.  Whilst there are approximately 120,000 practising solicitors in England and Wales there are less than 1,000 notaries