TERMS OF BUSINESS
The following general terms will apply to all matters which I handle in my capacity as a Notary unless otherwise agreed in writing:
- MY FEES: My fees are assessed mainly by reference to the time spent on the matter and on the basis of an hourly charging rate. My present hourly rate is £170.00 and my minimum fee is £55.00. I reserve the right to vary the rate and I would normally do so in respect of work requiring special expedition or work done outside ordinary office hours or at the weekend.
- VALUE ADDED TAX (VAT.): I am currently not registered for VAT. My fees and all expenses and disbursements will be charged gross.
- DISBURSEMENTS: These are expenses for which you are additionally responsible and they may include payments for such matters as legalisation fees payable to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and/or Embassies/Consulates, legalisation agents’ fees, Companies Registry fees, translators’/interpreters’ fees, couriers fees and special postage charges. I advise that I shall not incur the above expenses without first obtaining your appropriate consent or authority to do so.
- PAYMENT OF MY FEES: Fees are always due for settlement prior to completion of work and prior to release of completed documentation. I expect my fees to be payable upon receipt of the notarised document or on the signing of the document.
- TIME CHARGE: This includes all work undertaken on your matter upon receipt of your formal instructions and right through to the completion of your matter. The work includes preliminary details and advice, preparation, attendances, drafting, phone calls, correspondence including emails, faxes, copying documents and the completion of my register and protocol.
- QUOTATIONS & ESTIMATES: It is difficult to estimate how many hours of work will be required to complete a matter (save for straightforward or routine cases) as I have to take into account the multitude of circumstances that are likely to arise. Notwithstanding, I aim however to provide guidance as to the likely costs of a matter upon request. Such guidance constitutes an estimate of costs and it will be based upon the information presented to me at the time. Estimates of costs are given in good faith but are not binding particularly as instructions tend to become varied during the course of a matter. Variations in the instructions given, including requests for additional work, unexpected developments and/or inexperience, incompetence or lack of co-operation on the part of other parties or their advisers may increase costs.
- FUNDS ON ACCOUNT: I reserve the right to ask for money to be paid on account of work to be carried out, disbursements to be made and expenses incurred.
- TERMINATION OF RETAINER: You may terminate your instructions to me in writing at any time. I reserve the right however to decline to act any further on your behalf in the event of payment not being made or if you fail to instruct me properly. I will also exercise a lien on any papers or documents of yours which are in my possession, until payment has been duly made.
- YOUR INSTRUCTIONS: Please supply clear instructions and relevant background information or material at the outset of your instructions and throughout the duration or course of your matter. Companies should nominate one individual who is authorised to give clear instructions on behalf of the company in relation to each matter.
- YOUR OWN PROFESSIONAL ADVISERS: You are advised to seek first the advice of your own independent legal or other competent professional adviser who practises in, or is skilled in the law of the jurisdiction to which your document is to be sent. It is not my responsibility to give legal advice concerning the document. My duty is limited to ensuring that you understand the sort of transaction you are entering into and that you are willing to be bound by it.
- FOREIGN LAW: I do not advise on foreign law. I act in an evidential, authentication capacity.
- THE RELEVANT LAW: The law which governs my contract with you is English law and it is agreed that any dispute relating to my services shall be resolved by the English courts.
- FORCE MAJEURE: I will not be liable for any loss or damage arising as a direct or indirect result of the supply of services being prevented, hindered, delayed or rendered uneconomic by reason of circumstances beyond my control, including but not limited to Acts of God, war, riot, strike, lock-out, trade dispute or labour disturbance, accident, breakdown of machinery, fire, flood, storm or difficulty or increased expense in obtaining information or services of any description.
- RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES: I do not accept liability for the rights of third parties resulting from any Notarial act provided.
- MY LIABILITY: I carry professional indemnity liability cover of £2 million pounds which is more than the minimum level of cover specified by the Master of Faculty. I therefore limit the level of my liability to you to £2 million pounds, unless you are injured or die as a result of my negligence, in which case my liability is without limit.
- MY RESPONSIBILITIES: I have to be satisfied as to your identity, your legal capacity, your authority and your understanding and approval; in certain instances I may insist on a translation; I shall try to ensure that the document, in the manner of its execution, its form and substance will achieve its purpose; I must be wholly satisfied that it is your voluntary act and that no fraud, violence or duress are involved and that stipulated formalities either under English or foreign law are satisfactorily observed. If I am not satisfied about any one of those things I can refuse to undertake the matter.
- MONEY LAUNDERING COMPLIANCE: I operate a money laundering reporting procedure as required by statute, in particular, the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. I will require sight of documentation confirming your identity and residence before I can give effect to your instructions. I will also require full details of the source and proposed destination of funds (if any). I will not accept any responsibility for loss or delay caused by the failure of clients to provide such information promptly. In the event of any suspicion as to money laundering, information will be released to the appropriate authorities. I will not accept any responsibility for loss or delay caused by the failure of clients to provide such information promptly.
- CONFIDENTIALITY: I attach serious importance to client affairs and I strive to ensure that all such matters remain strictly confidential. However, the professional body that regulates my Notarial practice also has the right to inspect my work in order to ensure good practice and conduct.
- EMAIL: It is my policy to use e-mail wherever possible. Where a client has provided me with an e-mail address, for example, by sending me an e-mail, I will reasonably assume that I may use that address for the sending of unencrypted sensitive or confidential correspondence or documents to the client. I may also, during the course of a matter, send unencrypted sensitive or confidential information to other persons involved, unless specifically requested by them or the client not to do so. It is the responsibility of the recipient of my emails and attachments (if any) to scan the same for viruses.
- FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE AND/OR CONSULAR LEGALISATION: Some countries require a document to be legalised. This is the process by which a state agency confirms that my seal and signature are those of an English notary. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office attach an apostille to the document. Sometimes the document then has to go to the London Embassy/Consulate for the country to where the document will be sent. The Embassy/Consulate will then attach its own certificate to the document. This process is called Consular Legalisation. Your lawyer will probably advise you of the need for legalisation and if not, you should ask him/her about it. I shall be able to obtain the necessary legalisation and shall discuss with you the likely time scales involved and whether we should use legalisation agents or couriers if speed is of the essence. Alternatively, you can deal with the legalisation procedures yourself if you wish to do so.
- REGISTER & PROTOCOL: I keep a record in perpetuity of all documents I authenticate. At the end of the matter, I make a formal entry of the main details in my register and I keep copies of the notarised document and proof of identity in my protocol.
- QUALITY OF SERVICE & COMPLAINTS: It is my aim to provide a good and competent service to those instructing me. If you have cause for dissatisfaction you should direct your complaint to me. If you feel that I have not satisfactorily resolved your complaint, you can raise the matter with The Faculty Office whose offices are situated at 1 The Sanctuary, Westminister, London, SW1P 3JT.
- COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE: My notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury (whose contact details are: The Faculty Office 1, The Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3JT, email Faculty.firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.facultyoffice.org.uk. Tel: (0207) 222 5381)
23.1 If you have a complaint about my work please do not hesitate to contact me. If the matter cannot be immediately resolved between us, I will refer your complaint to the Notaries Society of which I am a fully paid member. The Notaries Society has a Complaints Procedure which is approved by The Faculty Office.
23.2 Alternatively, you may forward your complaint directly to the Notaries Society. Please write (but do not enclose any original documents) with full details of your complaint to :- Mr. Christopher Vaughan, Secretary of The Notaries Society, Old Church Chambers, 23 Sandhill Road, St James, Northampton NN5 5LH, email email@example.com.
23.3 Finally, even if you have had your complaint considered under the Notaries Society Approved Complaints Procedure, you may at the end of that procedure or after a period of eight weeks from the date of making the complaint to me, lodge your complaint directly with the Legal Ombudsman if the matter has not been resolved to your satisfaction: The contact details of the Legal Ombudsman are: Legal Ombudsman, Baskerville House, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2ND, Tel: 0300 555 0333, email firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.legalombudsman.org.uk.