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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 17604
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I need to have some documents witnessed by a justice of the

Customer Question

Hi there.I need to have some documents witnessed by a justice of the peace, notary or registered solicitor. I'm from NZ and having trouble finding this service in the UK. can you please let me know what would be the cheapest and/or fastest way to do this?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: London E114HG
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I've called a notary but it will cost 55 pounds per signature, and I tried calling a courthouse (In NZ courthouses can provide JP services)
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I would like to know if I would have to pay straight away, or if I could be billed to pay within 30 days? I've lost my job due to covid and cannot return to NZ, and these documents are to obtain funds to survive in the UK until I can return to NZ, which I should receive in 30 days
Submitted: 19 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 19 days ago.

Any solicitor should deal with this for you. Are you troubling to find one open?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Thank you for your response. I might be, do you know if they’ll be open still?
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
I can't call unfortunately -but do you know if many will be open in London?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 19 days ago.

A solicitor will normally charge five quid for witnessing a document although it depends what it is, sometimes they will charge 20.

A notary on the other hand will want an arm and a leg and to both kidneys and GBP55 is cheap for the notaries signature. The only reason for using the notary is for documents which are going to be used internationally. Otherwise forget it. The notary or solicitor will want paying instantly.

You can search the Law Society website www.lawsociety.org.uk

By postcode to find one near to you. The only reason you may have a problem is because there is actually nobody in the office.

It’s a case of making the loader telephone calls.

I don’t know what the document is but very few documents other than statutory declarations, affidavits, and certain mortgage deeds, need witnessing by a solicitor although if you are making an application to the land registry they would want the photograph on form ID1 certified by a solicitor for which the solicitor will charge whatever they like because if you are DIY you are taking work from the solicitor.

Depending on what the document is and what it is for, the recipient may be happy to take remote witnessing via video link. Unfortunately it’s not satisfactory for court documents.

If you can find a court office open, the court staff can witness it for you and that would be acceptable by 99.9% of places.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Thank you very much for your feedback - I really appreciate it!
Customer: replied 19 days ago.
I need the documents for my kiwisaver fund in NZ. They have said a registered solicitor, notary or justice of the peace. I may try a lawyer in London and see if they can offer this service. Thank you again for your help!
Expert:  F E Smith replied 19 days ago.

Thank you.

If they are insisting on a lawyer, that is their own requirement not a legal one. There is absolutely no legal reason why this should have to be done by either.

However it is going to be easier to find a solicitor (ignore the notary because of the cost) that it is to add the argument potentially in court or through some New Zealand Financial Ombudsman Service http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumer/complaints.htm which could easily take 12 months.

You could always ask whether they would accept video witnessing from a solicitor because we could do that. It’s unlikely they would. However because of the to-ing and fro-ing here, to be frank we would want more than 5 pounds because it means scanning documents and moving them around.

If you can actually find a notary for 55 quid, and they are available (whereas a 5 pounds solicitor isn’t) it’s probably going to be easier, quicker and cheaper to simply bite the bullet on the 55 quid.

Otherwise, just ring around law you still you find one available although travelling in London, I would rather pay the 55 quid than go to the trouble if the notary is local. Your choice. Kind regards

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
That's really good advice! Thank you again for that!
Expert:  F E Smith replied 19 days ago.

No problem at all. I am glad to help. Please come back to me at any time if anything needs clarification. Kind regards.