Certifying documents during the Covid-19 pandemic

Some legal restrictions on how documents can be certified and how identification can be confirmed have been temporarily adapted at this time. Please get in touch if you have any questions about how this might affect you.

Certifying Documents

We offer a full range of legal document certification services. This can be helpful if you’re undergoing a legal application process, making a Lasting Power of Attorney, 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. If you dishonestly provide information or make a statement that you know is, or might be, untrue or misleading, and intend doing so to make a gain for yourself or another person, you may commit the offence of fraud under section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006. The maximum penalty for this is 10 years’ imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.

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How we can help with Certifying Documents?

Certified Copies

You may sometimes need to submit a certified copy of an important document rather than the original. To do this, you will need to take the original document to a solicitor who will sign and date a photocopy to confirm it is a true and exact copy of the original.

This can include:

  • Passports
  • Driving licences
  • Birth, death or marriage certificates
  • Letters from government departments or hospitals
  • Bank or building society statements
  • Utility bills

We are also able to certify photographs to confirm that they are a true likeness of the person pictured.

Our certified copy document service is charged at a fixed fee.

Frequently Asked Questions

We usually provide this service in person at our York office. When you attend an appointment, we will be able to provide your certified documents straight away.

We can provide our certified documents service via post. You would need to send us your original documents (as well as photocopies), but this may be preferable to posting the original documents to a larger corporation or overseas.

Please note that we can only post the original and certified documents back to the address shown on the identification documents you have sent us. We send everything by registered post and advise you to do the same.

We cannot certify photographs via post, but we can do this via video call.

We charge a fixed fee of £10 per certified document if you are meeting with us in person. Please bring cash or a card with you to pay for this.

If we will not be meeting in person, we will generally need to charge an additional £75 plus VAT and postage because it takes longer. We will require payment for our invoice before we return your documents.

You will need to bring the originals of the documents you require certifying, as well as personal identification documents. We will keep a copy of your identification documents on file unless you tell us you would prefer us not to.

We can send your certified documents straight to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for you, if you wish. You may need to do this if another country has asked you to provide a UK document and they’ve said it must be legalised. Alternatively, you can deal with this yourself by visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised.

We charge an additional administration fee of £75 plus VAT for this service. This will be on top of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s fees of about £30 per document and approximately £10 for registered postage fees. If any further costs are involved, we will inform you of these as soon as possible.

We can certify print-outs of bank statements or utility bills from the internet, but please check with the person or organisation who is asking for the certified copy that this is sufficient for their purposes. Where we certify print-outs, we will add the following wording to the certification: “certified copy print-out of an electronic copy”.

Passports

In order to countersign a passport application and photo, a professional signatory must have known the applicant (or the adult signing on behalf of a child under 16) for a minimum of two years. This is to ensure they are able to personally identify you (or the child you are signing on behalf of).

If one of our solicitors has known you for more than two years, they will be able to countersign a passport application and photo for you.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer this service if we’ve known you for less than two years.

Frequently asked questions

We can provide this service either in person or remotely.

If you are 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 to us.

If you are managing your passport application online, as part of the process you will be able to electronically nominate us to be your counter signatory. We’ll then receive an email from HM Passport services with a reference number and a log in to allow us to digitally countersign your application.

This service costs £25 plus VAT. If you are meeting with us in person, please come prepared to pay on the day. If we are providing this service electronically or via post, we will send you an invoice.

If you’re seeing us in person, you’ll need to bring all the passport forms together with the two passport photos that need countersigning as part of the application.

Certifying Lasting Powers of Attorney

There are two reasons you might need a certified document relating to a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA).

Certifying an LPA in order to start acting on it

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.

You will then be able 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 individual who made the LPA.

Only certain professionals are able to certify Lasting Powers of Attorney. Our solicitors are fully qualified to do this and provide this service for a fixed fee.

Obtaining a certificate when an LPA is made

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.

The certificate provider must confirm that you had full mental capacity at the time of making your LPA, that you fully understood the implications of making it, and that you weren’t being put under pressure to do so.

Frequently asked Questions

We charge £35 plus VAT per Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to produce Solicitor Certified Copies. This is the same as what the Office of the Public Guardian charge, though they now only provide copies in exceptional circumstances. We also have a much faster turnaround time than the Office of the Public Guardian.

We offer a fixed fee for this service, but the exact amount will depend on your situation. For example, there will be extra steps involved in the process for people who have been diagnosed with certain health conditions, such as Dementia. Please get in touch for a personal quote.

If you would like us to certify an LPA for you, you will need to bring the original LPA as well as your personal identification documents. We will keep a copy of your identification documents on file unless you tell us you would prefer us not to.

If you would like us to act as a certificate provider at the time of making an LPA, please contact us and we’ll be able to advise on what information and documents you’ll need to bring in your specific circumstances.

If you are meeting with us in person, please bring cash or a card to pay on the day.

If we are not meeting in person, we’ll email you an invoice that can be paid online or over the phone.

Statutory Declarations and Affidavits

In certain financial or legal circumstances, you may be required to provide a statutory declaration or affidavit.

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 that we are fully qualified to authenticate statutory declarations and affidavits.

Statutory declarations and affidavits are written statements of fact that are witnessed and signed by a solicitor or other qualified professional. In order to make one, you’ll need to recite a declaration of truth then sign to confirm the statement you have made is correct. We will then sign, date and state our qualification to authenticate the document.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our charges for these services are currently £5 per person and £2 per document (which is legally known as an ‘exhibit’ in these circumstances).
We need to see you in person for this service. We request that you bring cash or a card with you to the appointment to cover the fees due.
You’ll need to bring the originals of the documents you are swearing or affirming, as well as your personal identification documents. We will keep a copy of your identification documents on file unless you tell us you would prefer us not to.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

If you need to use a document abroad, such as a birth, marriage or death certificate, we can arrange for these documents to be legalised with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

When a document is legalised, it confirms to officials in other countries that the document has been issued by a UK public official.

We are able to manage this process on your behalf.

Frequently asked questions

We a fixed fee of £75 plus VAT for this service. This will be on top of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s fees of about £30 per document and approximately £10 for registered postage fees. If any further costs are involved, we will inform you of these as soon as possible.

You’ll need to bring the document that you need legalising. You can find out whether your document can be legalised by visiting the FCO website.
We don’t need to see you in person to arrange for your documents to be legalised.

Affidavit of Parental Consent – South Africa

If you wish to take your child(ren) to South Africa without their other parent, you will need to have an Affidavit of Parental Consent with you when you travel.

This is a legal document which allows one parent of a child to take that child out of the UK and into South Africa without the presence of the second parent.

We can help you to prepare, complete and correctly execute the form of affidavit that is required for you and your child or children to travel to South Africa.

Not all countries require extra documentation for you to be able to travel with your child or children. If you have any concerns about travelling with your child without their second parent, the consulate or embassy of the country you are travelling to will usually be able to advise you.

We can help with the paperwork for any country that requires you to have an affidavit or similar documentation in order to travel with your child or children.

Frequently asked questions

This service costs £75 plus VAT per affidavit.
We don’t necessarily need to see both parents, but we can only sign an affidavit 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. 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 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).

ID1 & ID5 forms

ID1 forms are sometimes needed to verify your identity during a conveyancing transaction before your application can be lodged with the Land Registry.

This might be because you are dealing with a conveyancing transaction without the help of a solicitor. This can 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.

We offer a fixed fee for this service.

Frequently asked questions

Usually we need to see you in person in order to verify your identity for an ID1 form. However, during the coronavirus pandemic the Land Registry are allowing solicitors to do this by video call.

In these cases, you will need to download both the ID1 form and the new ID5 form. These forms will need to be submitted along with a screenshot of you taken by the solicitor during the video call.

You will need to bring the ID1 form you have filled out, the passport photos specified in the form and identification documents. If you are not seeing us in person, you will need to provide these documents online or in the post.

Our fee for verifying identity with a form ID1 or ID5 is £75 plus VAT per person.

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 the associated transaction being lodged.

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