The following general terms and conditions will apply to all Notarial and legalisation services provided by Geoffrey Smith Notary Public unless otherwise agreed in advance in writing:
You will provide clear instructions, including all relevant background information, both at the outset and as the matter continues.
It would be helpful if Company clients authorise one individual to give instructions to me on the Company’s behalf in relation to each matter.
2. Charges and payment
I will charge you a basic fee calculated at a rate of £250 per hour, pro rata. For travelling a fee of £2000 per hour will be charged. (A minimum fee of £70 will be charged.) Routine letters written, emails written or received and telephone calls or text (SMS) messages made or received will be charged at one-tenth the basic hourly rate (i.e. £25.) Non-routine telephone calls, emails and letters written will be charged on the basis of actual time spent. Payment can be made by cheque or cash or bank transfer (but not Debit or Credit card).
In accordance with Notarial practice guidelines, (which stipulate that fees should be fair and reasonable having regard to all the circumstances of the case), I may also charge you an additional fee to reflect factors including value, importance, speed, complexity or special skills. No additional fee will be charged unless you have agreed in advance to pay an additional fee and the specific amount thereof or the basis upon which such an additional fee shall be calculated.
Generally I will aim to quote a fee for the work to be carried out when I have sufficient information about it to provide a quotation.
Geoffrey Smith Notary Public is registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) and VAT will be charged on any fees payable as set out above. VAT may be charged on disbursements.
NOTE: Prescribed information (where this is applicable) under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 which came into force on 13th June 2014 can be found at Paragraph 15 below.
3. Disbursements (including postal and courier services and insurance).
Additional charges will be made for any disbursements or expenses incurred on your behalf including legalisation charges and fees. I reserve the right to ask you to provide funds to pay for immediate disbursements as your matter proceeds.
If you request that I deal with legalisation of documentation on your behalf or otherwise request that I forward documentation on your behalf to yourself or a third party or third parties and I agree to do so then I will do so solely as your agent and not as principal. Unless you instruct me to the contrary I will use recognised postal services (usually Royal Mail) or courier services (usually FedEx, UPS, DHL or equivalent). I accept no responsibility for any delay in or failure of delivery of such documentation which is outside my direct control. You must specifically instruct me to insure your documentation against loss, damage or delay if you wish me to do so and you will be responsible for the cost of such insurance.
I will give you guidance as to likely costs, where possible, on request.
Sometimes it may be difficult to estimate how much time will be required to complete a matter, bearing in mind the variety of circumstances that may arise.
Any estimates given will be based on the information available at the time and, although given in good faith, will not be binding.
Variations in the instructions given, including requests for additional work or unexpected developments and/or delays on the part of other parties or their advisers may increase costs.
5. Invoices and interest
I will normally deliver an invoice upon completion of work and prior to release of completed documentation. Occasionally I may deliver an invoice before the completion of a complex or lengthy piece of work or if I have incurred disbursements or expenses on your behalf and the matter is not likely to be completed for some time.
You must settle your invoice immediately.
You should raise any queries concerning an invoice immediately upon receipt.
If payment is not made on the date the invoice is raised I reserve the right until payment is made to charge interest on the balance owing at the rate of 8% per annum, to suspend further work on the matter, to exercise a lien (see Paragraph 6 below) and in appropriate cases to terminate my retainer and withdraw (but you will still remain responsible for payment of my fees in respect of work done or disbursements or expenses incurred on your behalf until such termination.
In the event of payment not being made as requested, or in the event of your insolvency or if a conflict of interest becomes apparent or if you fail to instruct me properly, I reserve the right to decline to act any further on your behalf and/or to exercise a lien on any of your papers or documents which are in my possession or control until payment has been made for work done and/or disbursements or expenses incurred on your behalf.
7. Termination of instructions by you
You may terminate instructions to me in writing at any time but you will still remain responsible for payment of my fees in respect of work done or disbursements or expenses incurred on your behalf until receipt of such termination.
In the event of payment not being made for an invoice, I may decline to act any further on your behalf. (see Paragraph 5 above)
8. Quality of Service and Client Satisfaction. Timescales
It is my aim to provide you with an excellent, professional service. I hope you will be completely satisfied with the service I provide but if you feel you have cause for dissatisfaction or complaint you should immediately notify me and discuss your concerns or, if you prefer, set them out in writing. If you are not satisfied that your concerns have been adequately addressed you should follow the Complaints procedure set out at paragraph 16 below.
I welcome suggestions as to how I can improve my service to you and other clients.
I will endeavour to progress and complete your work as quickly as I can and circumstances permit. Some matters are outside my control, including where I am waiting for information or documentation to be provided by you or a third party. I will not accept any liability for any failure on my part to meet agreed target dates or to complete work within an agreed particular timescale unless the failure is directly and exclusively caused by unreasonable delay on my part in providing my services. Where instructions are given to me in an emergency with very short deadlines I will not be responsible for any failure to meet those deadlines unless I have agreed in writing that the time for performance of the work is defined and “of the essence.”
It is my policy to use e-mail wherever possible. Where you have provided me with an e-mail address, e.g. by sending me an e-mail or correspondence with an email address displayed, I will assume, unless you specifically tell me to the contrary, that I may use that address to send you unencrypted, sensitive or confidential correspondence or documents. I may also, during the course of a matter, send unencrypted, sensitive or confidential information to other persons involved, unless you or they specifically request me not to do so.
I scan all incoming and outgoing emails for viruses but you should scan all email I send you for viruses.
10. Money laundering compliance
I am required to ensure that you provide to me satisfactory proof of your identity and address and full details of the source and proposed destination of funds.
I will not accept any responsibility for loss or delay caused by the failure on your part in promptly providing such information.
I operate a money laundering reporting procedure as required by law whereby, in the event of any suspicion of money laundering, information will be revealed to the appropriate authorities.
11. Professional Indemnity and Fidelity cover and limitation of liability
For your protection and as required by the Faculty Office, Geoffrey Smith Notary Public carries both Professional Indemnity insurance cover to a limit of £1,000,000 and Fidelity Cover with Notaries Guarantee Ltd.
12. Privacy and Data Protection
I attach great importance to dealing with your affairs in accordance with the law and good practice and so as to ensure your rights of privacy and confidentiality are respected, your data is held securely and for no longer than necessary and I deal efficiently with any Subject Access Request.
Certain persons and bodies including the professional body regulating Notarial practice have legal rights of inspection conferred by statute and otherwise to ensure compliance with the law and good practice and conduct and accordingly your right to confidentiality will be subject to any such legally conferred right of inspection.
In order to comply with my obligation to keep your data records up to date you should notify me of any material changes to your data that I retain, for example any change of name or address. This is because I may not be in regular contact with you and therefore I will be forced to (and I will) assume that your data is up to date unless you notify me to the contrary.
My Data Protection Policy and Privacy Notice set out in greater detail these matters this information appears on my website.
13. Foreign Law
I do not advise on foreign law but act solely in an evidential, authentication capacity. If you require advice on foreign law you should instruct other professional advisers to do so.
I undertake all of my Notary Public services in England and Wales. English law shall be the applicable law and the English courts shall have sole jurisdiction in the case of any dispute.
If any provision of these terms is held by any court or other competent authority to be void or unenforceable in whole or part, these terms shall continue to be valid as to the other provisions thereof and the remainder of the affected provision.
1. My notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury :
The Faculty Office
1, The Sanctuary
Telephone 020 7222 5381
2. If you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact me.
3. If we are unable to resolve the matter you may then complain to the Notaries Society of which I am a member, who have a Complaints Procedure which is approved by the Faculty Office. This procedure is free to use and is designed to provide a quick resolution to any dispute.
4. In that case please write (but do not enclose any original documents) with full details of your complaint to :-
The Secretary of The Notaries Society
Old Church Chambers
23 Sandhill Road
Northampton. NN5 5LH
Tel : 01604 758908
If you have any difficulty in making a complaint in writing please do not hesitate to call the Notaries Society/the Faculty Office for assistance.
5. Finally, even if you have your complaint considered under the Notaries Society Approved Complaints Procedure, you may at the end of that procedure, or after a period of 6 months from the date you first notified me that you were dissatisfied, make your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman*, if you are not happy with the result :
P O Box 6806
Wolverhampton. WV1 9WJ
Tel : 0300 555 0333
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : www.legalombudsman.org.uk
6. If you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman you must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman :-
• Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and
• Six years from the date of act/omission; or
• Three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint (only if the act or omission took place more than six years ago)
The act or omission, or when you should have reasonably known there was cause for complaint, must have been after 5th October 2010.
*certain kinds of commercial entities are not eligible to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman – please refer to the Legal Ombudsman Scheme Rules or consult the Faculty Office.