What is the difference between a Notary and a Solicitor?


An Notary Public, qualified in England and Wales and an England and Wales qualified Solicitor are two distinct branches of the legal profession in England and Wales. They both require two separate qualifications. Though most of the Notaries Publics are also solicitors they are distinct with two separate Regulatory bodies and qualification routes.

Many people are often confused between whether they need a Notary Public, or a Solicitor and the general rule of thumb is that you need a Notary Public for documents to be used abroad and a Solicitor (acting as a Commissioner of Oaths) for documents to be used in England and Wales. An English Notary Public is only authorised to practise in England and Wales though his Notarial acts can and is be used around the world.

Holborn Notaries have more than 15 years’ experience in Individual, commercial and corporate documents and are experts in handling of such documents from drafting of the documents to obtaining various embassy stamps etc of the said documents.

What is a solicitor? How can they help you?

Solicitors are qualified lawyers who specialise in one or two areas of law, such as family law, housing law, and employment law. Solicitors either work in private or in-house for law firms.

They are responsible for a wide range of services: 

What is a Notary public?

Notary Publics are quasi-public officials appointed by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury to serve the public as impartial witnesses when essential documents are signed. They are focused on the highly specialised area of legal activities, mainly dealing with international documents.


A Notary public can help you with:

What is the key difference between a Notary public and a Solicitor?

When will you need a Notary public?

In England and Wales, Notaries are particular types of legal professionals who can authenticate or sign documents and prepare them for use abroad. If you or your business need an international legal document or want to sell or buy a property abroad you will most likely require the services of a notary public to deal with it. Holborn Notaries can help you with the documentation process, which will be recognised in the foreign country in a quick and affordable way. 

A notary can prepare documents such as powers of attorney, sworn statements, affidavits, or certificates of law. In some cases, a foreign lawyer can prepare your documents and ask to certify them in front of a notary.

What kind of documents are required to be notarised?

An endless number of documents can be notarised by a public notary. Some of the important and most common ones are mentioned below for your reference:

Can a solicitor notarise documents?

The answer is No! You can legalise or Apostille a document signed by a solicitor, however if you want to get it notarised then you need a Notary Public. Without correct execution your important transactions can be delayed and even refused by the receiving authorities.

Kurupath Sathyanath Sreekumar is a Barrister at Law and Notary Public in England and Wales. He qualified as a Notary public in 2008 after obtaining a Post Graduate Diploma in Notarial Practice from the University of Cambridge.

His wide ranging notarial practice and impressive client list prove that your documents will be handled seriously and confidentially.

If you need any advice on document notarisation, contact us.

**Nothing in this blog is to be taken as Legal advice and please take specific advice regarding your circumstances before you proceed.

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