We offer a full range of legal document certification services. This may be helpful if you are undergoing a legal application process, require solicitor certified copies of important legal or financial documentation, are moving abroad or are required to submit a statuary declaration or affidavit.
Please note that if you use any of these services it is vitally important to provide correct information and valid identification documents. Not only will this ensure that we can provide you with exactly what you require, it is also required by law. If you provide information dishonestly or make a statement that you know (or suspect) to be untrue or misleading, and intend by doing so to make a gain for yourself or another person, you may be committing fraud under section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006. The maximum penalty for this is 10 years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.
How can we help you with document services?
We understand just how important it is to get the help and support you need quickly.
- Certified Copies and/or Identification Verification
- Legalising Documents (Apostille)
- Countersigning Passports
- Certifying Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Validating Statutory Declarations, Affidavits and Witnessing Signatures
- Affidavit of Parental Consent to Travel
- Land Registry ID1 & ID5 Forms
- Deed of Name Change
Certified Copies and/or Identification Verification
Sometimes, you may need to submit a certified copy of an important document rather than the original.
You may need a certified copy of a document such as a:
• Driving licence.
• Birth, death or marriage certificate.
• Letter from a government department or hospital.
• Bank or building society statement.
• Utility bill.
This is a service that we offer remotely by videocall, or in person, subject to availability. You will need to send the original document to be certified to us in the post. One of our solicitors will then make a copy and certify it as a true and exact copy of the original. They will sign, date and stamp the certified copy.
Verifying print outs of electronic documents
In some cases, we may be able to certify documents that have been printed out from the internet (including printed utility bills and bank statements). However, this is slightly different than producing a certified copy and requires different legal wording, as print outs of electronic copies are not considered original documents.
Depending on the type of document and what it’s for, we may say something like: ‘certified as a true copy of the document presented to me, which I understand to be a print out of an electronic copy.’ You will need to check with the organisation who are asking for the certified copies to ensure they will still accept this.
Verifying a true likeness of a photo
If you have been asked to provide a verified photo ID along with the certified documents, we can do this via video call. Please tell us in advance if you require this additional service, and ensure you provide your photo ID or photo along with the documents to be certified. We can then schedule a video appointment with one of our solicitors.
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Legalising Documents (Apostille)
If you need to use official documents abroad, you may need to get them legalised first. This is where documents are sent to the legalisation office of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) (formerly the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)).
Only documents issued inside the UK can be legalised by the FCDO. Documents issued outside the UK need to be legalised in the country where they were issued.
The FCDO will check the documentation they receive and, all being well, will legalise the document by attaching a document called an ‘apostille’. This will confirm to any foreign officials that the signature, stamp or seal is genuine.
We can administer this process for you by collating and checking your documents to be legalised, then submitting them to the FCDO on your behalf. Our legalisations are processed using FCDO’s standard service, which can take up to 10 working days to process, plus postage and courier time. This is in addition to our turnaround time of up to 10 working days from receipt of your original documents.
Our fee for this service will include the FCDO charge.
Some documents are eligible for the FCDO e-Apostille service. This can be quicker than a postal application, but not everyone will accept an e-Apostille and an e-Apostille is not available for the following documents in any case:
- birth, death, marriage, civil partnership and adoption certificates, or any other document from the General Register Office
- ACRO police certificates from England and Wales
- Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) certificates for England and Wales
- disclosure certificates for Scotland and Northern Ireland
- fingerprint certificates
- membership certificates for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
Important: If you are looking to obtain an e-Apostille, always check first whether the person who needs the legalised document will accept an e-Apostille in place of a traditional paper based Apostille.
Our solicitors are able to countersign passport applications and photos as professional signatories.
However, we can only offer this service if you have known one of our solicitors for more than two years. If the passport application is for a child under the age of 16, then the adult who is signing on their behalf will need to have known one of our solicitors for two years.
If you’re applying with a paper form, you can either make an appointment to meet with us face to face or you can post the forms and photos for us to sign remotely.
Alternatively, if you are managing your application online, you can electronically nominate the solicitor you know at Roche Legal as your counter-signatory. The solicitor will then receive an email from HM Passport services to allow them to digitally countersign your application.
Certifying Lasting Powers of Attorney
If you have been named as an attorney in a Lasting Power of Attorney and you need to start acting on the donor’s behalf, you will need to obtain at least one certified copy of the LPA.
This is because you will need to show the certified document to local authorities, hospital trusts, financial institutions and other bodies as evidence that you are legally entitled to act on behalf of the donor.
Only certain professionals are able to certify Lasting Powers of Attorney. Our solicitors are fully qualified to do this. If you would like us to certify an LPA for you, you will need to provide us with the original LPA (unless we are already storing it on your behalf).
Obtaining a certificate when making an LPA
We can also act as a certificate provider for a person who is making an LPA.
When you make an LPA, you will be required to submit a certificate completed by an independent professional such as a solicitor, registered health practitioner or social worker. This certificate provider must confirm that you had full mental capacity at the time of making the LPA, that you fully understood the implications of making it, and that you weren’t being put under pressure to do so.
If you are making an LPA and would like us to act as a certificate provider, please get in touch. Alternatively, you may be interested in our full Lasting Power of Attorney service.
Validating Statutory Declarations, Affidavits and Witnessing Signatures
In certain financial or legal circumstances, you may be required to provide a statutory declaration or affidavit. This is a written statement of fact that is witnessed and signed by a solicitor or other qualified professional.
This could be in order to:
• Legally change your name.
• Access a bank account belonging to a person who has died without a Grant of Probate.
• Confirm nationality, residency or marital status when other documentary evidence is unavailable.
Our solicitors have been appointed by the Chief Justice as Commissioners for Oaths, which means we are fully qualified to administer statutory declarations and affidavits.
This is a service that we offer remotely by videocall, or in person, subject to availability. You will need to send us the documents you are signing, swearing or affirming by email before your appointment. Please do not sign or otherwise fill in the documents before the video call.
If the document is for use abroad, please ensure that it is the signature of a solicitor you require and not a notary public.
Please note that this service is not for witnessing wills or lasting powers of attorney. If you need a witness for these types of documents that have not been prepared by us, please get in touch to find out whether we can help.
Preparing statutory declarations and affidavits
Statutory declarations and affidavits often have to be validated by a different solicitor than the one who has prepared them. This ensures that they are legally binding.
If you don’t yet have the legal documentation prepared and would like us to do this, we will be able to provide further guidance and a quote. However, if you need us to prepare this kind of document for you, we may not then be legally able to validate it as well.
Affidavit of Parental Consent to Travel
Some countries require an Affidavit of Parental Consent if you wish to travel there with your child(ren) without their other parent. This type of document is usually required if one parent is planning to visit South Africa with their child(ren). An affidavit may also be required in some other circumstances, such as if a parent and child travelling together have different surnames.
We can help you to prepare, complete and correctly execute an affidavit of parental consent to use for travel. We currently only offer this service in person.
We don’t necessarily need to see both parents, but we can only sign on behalf of the parent we have seen. If the second parent cannot attend a meeting at the same time, they can make a separate appointment. Alternatively, if the other parent cannot attend a meeting with us in person due to living too far away or overseas, they will need to make their own affidavit with another solicitor.
You will need to bring an unabridged copy of each child’s birth certificate, as well as their passports. You will also need to bring identification documents for all the people who will be named in the affidavit, including children. If you are the only surviving parent, you will need to bring a death certificate for the other parent (or a certified copy of the death certificate).
Not all countries require extra documentation for you to be able to travel with your child or children without the second parent. If you have any concerns about travelling with your child in this way, the consulate or embassy of the country you are travelling to will usually be able to advise you.
Land Registry ID1 & ID5 Forms
ID1 forms are sometimes needed to verify your identity during a conveyancing transaction in order for your application to be lodged with the Land Registry. This might be because you are dealing with a conveyancing transaction without the help of a solicitor. It can also be required in situations such as a transfer of property or land, the discharge of a mortgage or because you want to change your personal details with the Land Registry (such as your name or address).
The Land Registry will ask for you to fill in an ID1 form, (which can be downloaded for free from the Land Registry website). Before you can submit this to the Land Registry, you will need a solicitor to check your identity and sign the ID1 form to confirm they have done this.
This is a service that we offer remotely by videocall, or in person, subject to availability.
You will need to download, complete and sign the ID1 form and forward it to us by email, together with your photo ID, before your appointment. We will then complete an ID5 form and identify you by comparing your photo with your image on the video call. Please note that we will need to take a screenshot during the call to attach to the form.
If the Land Registry have asked you to complete an ID1 form, you will need to make sure this is signed and dated within three months of your associated transaction being lodged.
Deed of Name Change
A deed of name change is a legal document that allows you to state your intention to change or alter any part of your name. This could be changing your first name, changing, adding or removing any middle names, or changing your surname.
We can draw up a deed of name change on your behalf. This will display your former and new name, as well as your current address. It will then need to be formally witnessed.
You may wish to:
- Change your name after marriage or civil partnership.
- Change your name after divorce or dissolution.
- Change a child’s name (see below).
A deed of name change can be used to notify professional and governmental organisations, such as banks and HMRC, of your new name.
Registering a deed of name change with the Supreme Court
It is possible to ‘enrol’ your change of name deed at the Royal Courts of Justice, but this is not a legal requirement. We do not generally recommend that you enrol your deed as there are no real benefits to doing so and we therefore consider it an unnecessary additional cost.
Deeds of name changes for children
Anyone who has parental responsibility for a child under the age of 18 can draw up and register a deed of name change on the child’s behalf. This can be used to change the child’s first name, change, add or remove middle names, or change their surname.
Everyone who has parental responsibility for a child must consent to the name change. If the children in question are between the ages of 16 and 18, they will also have to give their consent. (The only exception to this are individuals aged between 16 and 18 who are, or have been, married or in a civil partnership. These individuals will be treated as an adult for the purposes of the deed of name change.)
Get the legal advice you need
Dealing with legal issues can be confusing and stressful. If you’re not sure exactly how we can help you, or if you want to get specialist advice right away, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and get in touch.