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​Why do I need a notary public for an international transaction?

If you are involved in any transaction or legal arrangement with an international element, you will likely need a Notary Public.

Overseas transactions often involve a substantial amount of money. This, coupled with the difficulties to prove identity and capacity to a foreign lawyer or third party directly, makes any international transaction a target for fraudsters. To minimise the risk of fraud, the other party or their lawyer will ask for any documents to be ‘notarised’ in the UK.

Notaries public are responsible for safeguarding against international fraud and illicit transactions. In an international transaction, a notary will check:

  • your identity;
  • whether you have the authority and capacity to enter into the transaction;
  • that you wish to enter into the transaction, and;
  • that you are not subject to coercion by other people.

The above measures protect both parties, ensuring the arrangements are legitimate and neither party is being defrauded. Furthermore, if the transaction has any illegal element, a Notary has a duty to refuse to act in order to prevent illegal activities.

Sometimes a Notary’s signature and seal is enough in itself to satisfy the foreign party and their lawyers for the purpose of the transaction. However, in some cases the notarised document will also need to be authenticated and legitimised by the Foreign Commonwealth Office (and potentially also the other country’s embassy).

For more information on authenticating your international transaction, please call 0113 232 1030 or email notary.public@emsleys.co.uk.

Will Armstrong

Written by

Will Armstrong

Notary Public and Personal Injury

Will is a solicitor with over 8 years’ experience. He works within our Personal Injury team, specialising in claims for accidents on the highway. Will has also recently qualified as a Notary Public and can validate documents for international transactions.

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