Why do documents need solicitor certification?
When a document is legalised with the apostille it must have the stamp of a recognised body or the signature of a public official or solicitor. Without the correct certification a document cannot be legalised.
Many documents have the required signature or stamp and do not need further certification. For example birth certificates, marriage certificates, court documents and HMRC letters normally do not need to be signed by a solicitor.
Other documents do need checking and certifying by a solicitor. Common examples are company documents, personal papers, Mortgage deed and academic or qualification certificates. These are not typically signed by a recognised public official.
What is solicitor certification?
In simple terms a solicitor will check a document and then add a statement why they are certifying the document and then add their signature.
The type of certification added to a document will depend on what the document is and why it is being certified. In many circumstances a document may simply be certified as a copy, or as an original. If you are having your signature witnessed then the solicitor will add ‘signed in my presence’ or ‘witnessed by’ to confirm they saw the document being signed.
Certification on documents needs to be done correctly. It is important that documents contain the correct statement, are signed in a solicitor’s name and not the firm’s and that it is clear what date the document was signed.