In using our services you agree to abide by the following Terms & Conditions. These apply to all services we provide including any future services unless superseded by future Terms & Conditions supplied to you by us. For the avoidance of doubt if you change the subject or nature of your case with us (for example if in a conveyancing matter you change which property you are purchasing or change it from a purchase to an option agreement) these terms and conditions continue to apply, and any client care letter provided will continue to apply insofar as possible save for any variations agreed in writing.
All services other than notarial acts are provided to you by Notary Express Limited. Notarial acts are provided by the individual notary providing the service.
We will be required to identify you and obtain information on the purpose of the transaction during its course to comply with regulatory requirements. If you are not the beneficiary, we may be required to identify them also. We are obliged to monitor and keep identity information up to date during our part in the transaction.
If we are dealing with a law firm on the other side in a transaction within England & Wales we will identify that law firm acting but we rely on their identification of their client. We will not identify their client nor accept any liability whatsoever should they fail to properly identify their client.
If we supply a client care letter on a matter this forms part of our contract with you. We will not review any documents you send us or provide any legal advice until we receive the signed client care letter. We do not provide client care letters for these services: notarial acts, oaths and certification of documents.
We will normally agree fees in advance of any meeting. Our standard fees are set out on the website and if the matter is non-standard you will be given an estimate in advance. If at the appointment or during the process the matter proves more complicated or protracted than expected or there are more documents or people involved than indicated or legalisation is required, we reserve the right to renegotiate the fee or charge you at an hourly rate. Calls outside our working hours as shown on the website shall be charged at £100 every 15 minutes or increment thereof. Local attendance is defined as within 15 minutes' walk of our office. If you fail to attend an appointment without at least 1 hour's notice or arrive more than 15 minutes late we may not be able to see you and if we do see you we reserve the right to charge at our hourly rate for the delay. We prefer to work without referral commissions but in some cases may have negotiated such commissions with third parties such as estate agents. If a referral commission applies to your transaction it will be added to the fee and your informed written consent will be sought beforehand. Once you instruct us our fees are due even if the transaction fails to proceed for any reason other than our default. If we agree a fixed fee that is not paid up front for work and you dis-instruct us before that work completes we will charge you an hourly rate for the work done to date but cap it at the agreed fixed fee. If we offer a discounted rate for payment up front this discount is in exchange for you bearing the risk of the transaction not completing; we will not refund fees if the transaction does not complete for any reason other than our default. Note that if you opt for a “no move, no fee” deal our fee is payable on completion even if you complete the matter with another firm or self-representing within 12 months from the date of dis-instructing us – this is to protect us from the rare situation where we might do all or most of the work and a client dis-instruct us just before completion to avoid paying our fees.
You are responsible for all payments which we make on your behalf. Typical examples for notarial acts are legalisation fees paid to a consulate, Companies House and Land Registry fees, couriers and title searches. We shall not incur these expenses without first obtaining your consent to do so. We do not generally charge for postage providing the cost is no more than a first class stamp. We charge for the excess on postage for bulky items and for tracked or courier delivery. We have no obligation to pay these expenses unless you have provided us with the funds for that purpose. We reserve the right to invoice for disbursements prior to incurring them. If we provide you with a completion statement for your case this is a provisional estimate and will usually be supplied in advance where possible. At any time you are entitled to request a copy of the client ledger which shows a list of actual transactions that have taken place. If we are required to give a financial undertaking to a third party in most cases we will require the funds on account before we can give the undertaking.
Payment is generally due on commencement of the service or as otherwise agreed, by cash, cheque, bank transfer or card. Note that we do not accept card payments over £1000. Pursuant to money laundering regulations we cannot accept cash payments over £5000. If we send you an invoice in respect of the work, payment is due within 7 days of the date of the invoice. Interest will be charged on late payments on a daily basis at 8% over the Bank of England base rate from time to time from the date payment was due. If you owe us any money we are also entitled to retain your documents until we have been paid.
Any money received on your behalf will be held in our client account. Subject to certain minimum amounts and periods of time set out in the regulator’s accounts rules, interest will be calculated and paid to you at the rate from time to time payable on Natwest's designated client accounts. The period for which interest will be paid will normally run from the date on which funds are received by us until the date of issue of any cheque from our client account. You authorise us to retain the first £20 of each amount of interest as and when calculated to help us cover the administrative expenses of arranging these calculations and payments. In order to assist our accounting with small sums of unclaimed money, if you do not cash a cheque we issue you within a month, we will send you a reminder and if you do not cash it or contact us within a month of the reminder we will claim the funds as unwanted.
You agree to provide us with true and accurate information when using the services. We are not responsible for any issues that arise through the provision to us by yourself (or any party instructed to act on your behalf) of incorrect information. You agree to notify us immediately of any unauthorised use of your identity or email that could affect our service to you. We will usually pursue our retainer to completion but we do reserve the right to terminate it if there are reasonable grounds to do so with reasonable notice given the circumstances of the situation. What is considered a reasonable length of time to respond to correspondence varies from one person to another; we generally aim to respond to correspondence involving simple enquiries within 48 hours but we do not accept any liability for loss caused by delay or alleged slow response. You can terminate our retainer at any time for any reason with no liability other than for our costs and fees. If a conflict of interest arises during the transaction we must cease acting for all parties and we may bill you for our costs and fees. We normally communicate with clients with ongoing cases on at least a weekly basis but if we request instructions from you and do not hear back from you then in order to draw some finality over cases we reserve the right to close any file where you are unresponsive for over a year without any refund to you.
We have to be satisfied as to your identity, your legal capacity, your authority and your understanding and approval of the contents of any document to be notarised. If a document is in a language other than English or Spanish we may require a translation. We must be satisfied that it is your voluntary act and that no fraud, violence or duress is involved and that other stipulated formalities under English and any relevant foreign law of which we are aware are observed. If we are not satisfied about any one of those things we can refuse to undertake the matter. If we certify a document, we are obliged to state in our notarisation that we have not verified its authenticity unless you instruct us to verify it. Verification of authenticity involves contacting the issuing institution who may charge a fee and/or take some time to respond. Please let us know if you require us to verify any certified document. We will always show you the notarised document to approve before you leave the appointment.
Documents retained for legalisation or any other purpose will be returned to you by first class post unless you request to collect it in person; if you wish to use another postal service such as recorded delivery you must request this at the appointment and pay the difference. The loss of documents in the post is a rare but unfortunate occurrence, and if this happens Notary Express does not accept responsibility but will in such circumstances offer you a free certified replacement and instructions on how you can get an apostille or have it legalised yourself if required. With the exception of the provision of notarial services, we do not accept the postage of documents (for example during a conveyancing transaction) to any office other than our Head Office and you should only post documents there. Documents posted to any other address may not be received.
It is not our responsibility to give you legal advice concerning a document for notarisation or advise on tax matters in any case. When dealing with a document destined for a foreign jurisdiction, you are advised to seek first the advice of your own independent legal or other competent professional adviser who practises in, or is skilled in the law of that jurisdiction.
We do not provide any tax advice whatsoever. In particular, please note we will not provide tax advice even on tax matters ancillary to work we carry out, including, but not limited to, Stamp Duty Land Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax and Value Added Tax. If we cite a figure for tax payable this must be considered a provisional figure; it is your responsibility to check any tax figure is correct and advise us of any factors that may affect the calculation. We are more than happy to refer you to a tax specialist should you require professional advice on any tax matter. If we draw up a trust for you it is your responsibility to check whether you need to register it on the UK Trust Register or elsewhere. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for losses arising from tax planning issues, tax penalties and tax charges, howsoever arising. It is rare for clients to provide us with incorrect information but you indemnify us against any tax payments, penalties and other costs whatsoever arising as a result of the provision of any false or misleading information by you.
Some countries require a document to be legalised. This is the process by which a state agency confirms that my seal and signature are those of an English notary. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office attach a certificate (known as the apostille) to the document. Sometimes the document then has to go to the London embassy for the country to where the document will be sent. The embassy will then attach its own certificate to the document. Your lawyer will probably advise you of the need for legalisation. If not, you should ask him about it. As a guide the postal service for an apostille takes approximately 7 days, the tracked service approximately 2 days by courier from London or 4 days from outside London, and the same-day service can normally be completed the same day from London if your appointment with us is in the morning or in 4 days from outside London. "Days" means working days. Notary Express is not responsible for any delay caused by third parties including but not limited to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office or a foreign consulate.
You will need to ensure that you have sufficient funds to meet costs beyond your mortgage advance and any sale proceeds. We do not check this for you. We may ask the lender to arrange that the advance monies are received by us up to 4 working days prior to the completion date. This will enable us to ensure that the necessary funds are available in time for completion. You should be aware that the lender may charge interest from the date of issue of the advance. If we are representing the lender please be aware we are required to treat them as our client as well and we must disclose full information to them; if you instruct us not to disclose information to them a conflict of interest may arise. If you are buying with a mortgage and we are not on the lender panel we will represent you but the lender will instruct another firm to represent it at your cost.
We do not undertake to check the validity, extent or enforceability of guarantees relating to the fabric of the property or to ensure that the benefit of them is transferred to you, except in the case of NHBC cover. We are not surveyors and will not inspect the property; we exclude liability for any matters whatsoever that would be apparent to you on inspection of the property or survey, whether or not you carried out a survey. We strongly advise you to have a full structural survey carried out by a chartered surveyor prior to exchange of contracts. We will investigate only the property you are purchasing – our work does not extend to investigating neighbouring properties/titles.
If you have any concerns about anything regarding the property, whether it is something revealed in searches, replies to enquiries, title information, our report, other property documents or just from your own knowledge or inspection of the property, you must ask us to investigate this prior to exchange of contracts. It is usually too late to carry out further investigations once contracts have been exchanged.
We advise against requesting a completion on a Friday, or on the last working day before public holidays. While most completions proceed smoothly if the matter failed to complete for any reason you could have a long wait over the holiday period for a resolution. We do not accept liability whatsoever for any delay not caused by our default. We do not accept liability for a delay being extended due to weekends or public holidays if you requested or accepted a completion date of Friday or a completion date just prior to the public holidays.
If you instruct us jointly, we will treat the instruction of any one of you as the instruction of you all, and may share information between you. To give an example without limiting the previous sentence, if you instruct us jointly and one of you instructs us to exchange contracts you authorise us to accept that as being an instruction from all of you. Unless you expressly request otherwise on a sale of property we will discharge the estate agent commission as well as any mortgage, outstanding service charges and/or ground rent and/or other charges secured on the property out of the completion monies and you authorise us to do this.
Conveyancing – Special Timescales
We generally recommend at least 2 weeks between exchange and completion on a property matter. If you require us to complete less than 7 days from exchange it will involve additional work and haste. We reserve the right to charge a fee to cover the extra work if you require this. Please make sure you give us at least 48 hours’ notice from the file being ready of any request to exchange contracts or complete.
Completion on a purchase or re-mortgage is dependent on receipt of the mortgage advance from your lender (as well as funds from your sale if you are selling a property). The banking system does not guarantee instantaneous transfers for large sums, only that funds will be sent by 17:00. The risk of late receipt of funds is increased if there is less than 7 days between exchange and completion. While most completions will happen on the agreed date we accept no liability for non-completion on the day due to late receipt of funds or information from the lender or from your related sale.
If we agree a delayed payment arrangement and completion is set to occur more than 3 months after the date of exchange we reserve the right to request our fees any time after 3 months from the date of exchange.
If completion is to occur more than 3 months after the date of exchange, for example but not limited to an exchange with delayed completion or the exercise of an option under an option agreement, we reserve the right to charge an additional fee to handle the completion in due course.
If you are using an option agreement or similar arrangement and opt to pay some of our fees “on completion” this is on completion of the option deed, not on completion of the purchase if you decide to exercise the option in the future.
If you are contemplating making a gift of assets we advise that you consider the possibility of death, divorce or bankruptcy/debt of the beneficiary and what would happen to your gift in those circumstances. We also advise you consider your own financial position following the gift and ensuring you do not fall foul of legislation designed to avoid the deliberate deprivation of assets for pension/care claims. We can provide services to carry out the transfer of an asset such as a property but we do not provide advice in relation to debts, divorce or state benefits. We would strongly recommend you consult a family law practitioner to ensure you are making the right decision for your personal circumstances taking into account all relevant considerations.
If we post or email your will to you then you accept responsibility for signing it and we will not chase you to establish whether it has been signed. We will always post or email it together with our standard signing instructions. We are not responsible for any consequences whatsoever if you do not follow our signing instructions or if you do not sign your will. If you use our email, postal or telephone wills service where there is no face to face appointment our services are strictly limited to drawing up a document. We do not accept any liability howsoever caused for any damages or losses arising if you procure the drafting of a will in the name of a third party without their knowledge or consent.
If you use our services to draw up a mirror will or mutual will with your spouse (or any other person) we reserve the right to accept individual instructions in future if one of you should approach us to change their will, without any obligation to disclose it to the other. If you instruct us to exclude family members from a will, we will do so, including in situations where your spouse or someone has passed you assets intending them to pass to their children (your step-children) after their death. In any such situation we draw your attention to the possibility of the excluded family members or dependents potentially challenging your will in court and/or asserting their rights to provision from your will.
Once the will is drafted, we will send it to you for review. If you require any amendments or alterations, we will action those free of charge. This only applies to minor changes and not to additional work (e.g. to add a trust into the will) which would be chargeable at our usual rates. Once we have made the changes requested, any further changes will be chargeable. Our fees are due once the first draft has been prepared, even if you subsequently decide you no longer want a will; this is to protect us from the risk of non-payment once we have sent the will to you. With a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) we reserve the right to charge if you require changes once the draft has been produced.
It is your responsibility to make sure you retain control of all communication methods you have previously identified to us, including your postal address, email address and telephone number. We will treat all instructions received from these sources as genuine. If you lose control of any of these resources you must inform us immediately. We do not accept instructions via text message, messaging platform or videoconference software unless we state otherwise in writing. Instructions are accepted only via email, personal attendance, post and telephone call. Any important instructions provided orally must be confirmed in writing.
Notary Express will in most cases keep an entry of the details of the service and copies of any documents you provide including, but not limited to, your proofs of identity. We are required to do so for regulatory reasons and to process your matter. You agree to us retaining relevant information about yourself and the matter dealt with. This may include your name, contact details, correspondence records and copies of documentation received. We will take appropriate measures to keep this information confidential and within the United Kingdom or a country with similar data protection measures in place. We may retain information in perpetuity however you have a right to request its deletion after 12 years unless the law or regulatory requirements require us to retain it for longer. We may use this for the purposes of complying with legal and regulatory requirements, to carry out credit checks, to detect, investigate and prevent fraud, for internal analysis and research, and to contact you from time to time with offers of products and services that we believe may be of interest to you. You can opt out of receiving marketing information at any time by writing to us at the Head Office address shown on our website or by emailing email@example.com. You can request a copy of any data we hold on you or request an update or correction to it by writing to our Head Office address as shown on our website.
We will not pass your details on to third parties other than group companies without your consent unless required to do so by law. If relevant to your case our group company Express Insure Ltd may contact you regarding insurance needs, and we may contact you regarding energy services. We are a licensed representative for Utility Warehouse and if you sign up to them using our Partner ID or web link, we receive a very small commission which we are informed does not affect your overall bill. In particular as a regulated firm we may need to carry out an electronic anti-money laundering check on you and in using our service you consent to us doing so. If we have reasonable suspicion a money laundering offence is being committed we may have to make a report to the regulatory authorities to request their clearance to proceed. This is exceptionally rare but we are not liable for any loss caused by delay from waiting for clearance to proceed. If applicable to your case, your estate agency, mortgage broker and/or financial adviser may request updates from us about the case and unless you instruct otherwise we will keep them informed. If you are kind enough to give us a testimonial we may use the comments and your first name in our publicity but we will not publish any other details about you.
We scan original documents and can normally return them to you at the appointment. If an original document has to be retained or is posted in to us for subsequent return to you, we will return it to you by first class recorded delivery at your own cost. If you require a different return service please let us know when you deliver the document to us. On completion of a matter and financial settlement we will endeavour to return to you any original documents due to you. If you do not accept your documents from us or do not pay our fees and costs we reserve the right to exercise a lien and to destroy them, sell them or charge you at our standard rate for storage as we at our discretion elect. Any hard copy documents we receive will be destroyed 30 days following completion – if you wish to discuss paying for storage please let us know. We reserve the right to charge for the retrieval of electronic and paper documents following completion of the matter. If you opt to have files stored with a third party such as The National Deeds Depository we will facilitate this for you for a small fee. Please note that we do not accept any liability whatsoever for the loss or damage to your deeds if deposited with any third party.
Notary Express carries professional indemnity cover of £3,000,000 and fidelity liability cover of £2,000,000. We therefore limit the level of our liability to you to the level of our insurance cover, except as a result of death or personal injury. This limit is considered to be fair and reasonable and reflects the level of professional indemnity insurance we hold. The limit shall apply to any and all causes of action against us in respect of, or arising from, or in any way connected with our engagement by you. If you require a higher limit of liability please contact us to discuss this. We may be able to make alternative arrangements or advise you of an alternative lawyer. Where in relation to any loss you also have a cause of action against any third party, we shall only be liable to you for our share of the responsibility but not more than the limit on our liability mentioned in this paragraph.
Notary Express reserves the right to amend these Terms & Conditions at any time by posting an amended version to the website. The updated Terms & Conditions shall apply to all services rendered since the update.
Complaints – Legal Services other than Notarial Practice
- Our legal practice (aside from notarial services) is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority:
Solicitors Regulation Authority
199 Wharfside Street
Telephone: 0370 606 255
- If you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- If we are unable to resolve the matter you may complain to the Legal Ombudsman within 6 months of our final decision. Please see the website of the Legal Ombudsman at www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Complaints – Notarial Practice
- Our notarial practice is regulated by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury:
The Faculty Office
1, The Sanctuary
Telephone: 0207 222 5381
- If you are dissatisfied about the service you have received please do not hesitate to contact us.
- If we are unable to resolve the matter you may 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.
- In that case please write (but do not enclose any original documents) with full details of your complaint to:
Secretary of the Notaries Society
Old Church Chambers
23 Sandhill Road
Telephone: 0207 222 5381
If you have any difficulty making a complaint in writing, please do not hesitate to call the Notaries Society for assistance.
- Finally, even if you have your complaint considered under the Complaints Procedure, you may at the end of that procedure or after a period of eight weeks from the date you first notified us that you were dissatisfied, make your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, if you are not happy with the result:
PO Box 6806
Telephone: 0300 555 0333
6. If you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman within six months from the conclusion of the complaint process.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction
The laws governing our agreement are the laws of England, and the courts of England have exclusive jurisdiction over any proceedings that arise from our dealings.
We hope that you will be satisfied with the service we provide but if you have any queries or need our literature provided in a different format please do not hesitate to contact us. We aim to provide the best possible service to the highest standards of practice while ensuring good value to our clients. Thank you for your custom and we hope you will return to use our services again in the future.