Notarial Certification

Documents which are to be used overseas often need to be prepared or certified by a notary. Notaries are authorised to prepare and certify many different types of document, to be produced in other countries. Every country has its own requirements as to how legal documents are prepared, executed and certified. Our notaries are well qualified to advise on the varying formalities involved. Where appropriate documents and notarial certificates can be prepared in the languages of the jurisdiction concerned.

A wide range of documents require national intervention to be used overseas: deeds, which include, powers of attorney, bills of sale, mortgages form a special category under English law and we can advise on the particular procedures to be followed.

Notaries may also certify copies and translations of documents (see “legal translation” below).

We are happy to attend on clients personally to oversee the execution of documents requiring notarial attestation, and many major institutions and companies find this the most effective way of dealing with their notarial requirements. Clients are also welcome to attend in person at our City or Canary Wharf offices.


Frequently, once a document has been notarised, some further formalities must be undertaken before it can be used overseas; these formalities may include consular legalisation (often referred to simply as “consularisation”) or certification by apostille in accordance with the 1961 Hague convention abolishing legalisation. An apostille is a certificate issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirming the signature and seal of the notary and this procedure is accepted in an increasing number of countries. However, some countries still require notarial documents to be legalised and the document must in these circumstances be presented to the consulate or other diplomatic representation of the country where the document is to be used. Cheeswrights has a large and experienced messengerial team and we pride ourselves on our ability to obtain apostilles and legalisations within the tightest deadlines.

Affidavits & Declarations

Notaries are authorised to administer oaths and to take declarations. Affidavits are used for the purpose of giving written evidence in judicial proceedings. Where the execution of deeds or other facts has to be proved otherwise than in court, the proof may be made by means of a statutory declaration. We can advise on the correct form of affidavit or statutory declaration for particular purposes and, if necessary, draw these up for our clients.

Openings of Tenders
Bond & Debenture Operations
Share Issue Ballots

Cheeswrights is frequently called upon to supervise the opening of tenders for large international contracts to ensure “fair play”. Notaries may also be called upon to witness or carry out drawings or other operations relating to foreign bonds and debenture stock, and proceedings such as ballots for share issues where the presence of a notary is required in order to ensure that matters are conducted in a proper and impartial manner.

Legal Translation

All Cheeswrights notaries have studied and been examined in at least two foreign languages and in the law of at least one foreign country. The translation of legal documents is notoriously difficult and requires extensive knowledge of both language and law. The translation of legal documents both into and out of English is therefore often entrusted to scrivener notaries who have the appropriate experience and expertise to undertake this task.

Cheeswrights will undertake translation work into and out of many European languages, including: French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, and Russian. We have a network of external translators to whom we entrust translation work in languages not catered for in-house.

Agency for Service of Process

Overseas parties to contracts governed by English law are often required to have an address within England and Wales at which legal process may be served. For a one-off fee, Cheeswrights will act as agent for service of process for foreign parties to English-law contracts. Please send an email to if you would like to appoint Cheeswrights as agent for service of process or if you require any further information.

Protesting Bills of Exchange

When a foreign negotiable instrument (a bill of exchange, promissory note or cheque) is dishonoured, it should be noted and protested for non-acceptance or non-payment (as the case may be). Noting involves a notary presenting the dishonoured instrument to the defaulting party for acceptance or payment and recording on the instrument the reason for dishonour. A protest is a notarial certificate setting out the reason for dishonour and recording the details of the presentment in a more formal way than the note. A copy of the dishonoured instrument is attached to the protest. Our fees for noting and protesting negotiable instruments depend on the number of instruments to be presented, their value and the location of the place of presentation. In each individual case a quote may be obtained by speaking to one of our notaries or trainees.

Ship Protests

On arrival of a vessel at her port of discharge, her owners or underwriters may require the master to enter a note of protest to be made before a notary public. This formality is observed when, owing to exceptionally bad weather or some accident at sea, damage has been caused to the ship or her cargo, and is intended to show that such damage was caused by maritime perils and not by any negligence or misconduct on the part of the master, officers or crew.

Spanish & Portuguese Department

This department deals with powers of attorney and other formal documentation for execution by individuals or companies for use in Spain, Portugal and Latin America, and subsequently organises apostilles or consular legalisation as appropriate. The department also arranges notarially certified translations of legal documentation from and into Spanish and Portuguese.


Linsey Bilham - Spanish on

Luis Hyde - Spanish and Portuguese on

for further information.

Russian Department

Cheeswrights’ Russian department serves the needs of corporate clients who are active in Russia, as well as delivering an efficient and cost-effective solution to the notarial requirements of the growing Russian expatriate community in London. Typically this includes producing notarial documents dealing with the sale, purchase and management of property in Russia and all matters where the intervention of a notary is required under Russian law. The department can produce and certify these documents in Russian, thus removing the need for translations.

Alisa Grafton on for further information.