Thirsk Winton LLP

Legalisation of Notarial Acts (Apostille)

Once the authentication of a document has been concluded, by applying their signature and seal, the Notary has completed their task.

Often, the document will immediately be acceptable to the receiving jurisdiction.  This is usually the case, for example, with Commonwealth or ex-Commonwealth countries such as Canada, South Africa, the Carribean, and state-level bodies in the USA (but not federal bodies).

Many countries, however, will require a further step to be taken before the notarised document is accepted in that jurisdiction.  This step is known as legalisation and will at the very least require an “Apostille” to be affixed by the United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Until recently, it was possible for the Apostille to be obtained directly by the client by visiting the public counter at the Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes.  However, this facility has been discontinued.  The only option for a client is to apply by post to the Legalisation Office.  For many this is inconvenient and carries an unacceptable risk that the valuable notarised document will be lost.  For this reason, we provide this service at a fixed cost of £100 + VAT per document.  We send the document to an agent using the DX system (not the Royal Mail) who then hand delivers the document to the Legalisation Office.  This system offers a great deal of security, flexibility and convenience for our clients.

Once the Apostille is affixed, it will be accepted in the foreign jurisdiction.  Amongst others, most European countries such as Spain, Portugal, Germany and France will require this procedure to be carried out.

Some countries will require further legalisation to be undertaken by their consulate in London, which again the notary can organise.  This applies, for example, to the United Arab Emirates.