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Code of Practice

Chapter 15: Inspections

The Inspections Regulations were made by the Master of the Faculties in 2014 and introduce a system of inspections for all notaries in England and Wales.

Each year the practices of randomly selected notaries [Inspection Regulation 1] are inspected by one or more inspectors selected by the Registrar from a panel appointed for the purpose by the Master of the Faculties [Inspection Regulation 2].

Notaries are given at least seven days’ notice of an inspection [Inspection Regulation 4] and as far as is reasonably possible the inspector is not a notary practising in the same geographical area as the notary being inspected, is not known personally to that notary, and not a person with whom a professional or commercial conflict of interest might arise [Inspection Regulation 3].

Notaries who are subject to an inspection are required to co-operate with the inspector and to provide access to all records, files, accounts, ledgers, and other papers that the inspector may request to see [Inspection Regulation 7].

If the inspector’s report discloses matters of concern, the Master of the Faculties may direct further measures such as additional training or a period of supervised practice [Inspection Regulation 11].

Any matter that amounts to an allegation of Notarial Misconduct contained in the inspector’s report will be dealt with under the Conduct and Discipline Rules [Inspection Regulation 12].

Conveyancing

A notary-conveyancer is liable to be inspected in accordance with Practice Rule 24 and, as part of any inspection, the conveyancing practice of that notary will be reviewed by an inspector who is experienced in conveyancing matters.

Probate

A notary-probate practitioner is liable to be inspected in accordance with Practice Rule 24 and as part of any inspection the probate practice of that notary will be reviewed by an inspector who is experienced in probate matters.

  • The standard of work carried out by notaries is checked on a regular basis.
  • Improvements to a notary’s practice are suggested and implemented.
  • The services provided by notaries to the public are enhanced.
  • You comply with any direction given by an inspector appointed by the Master of the Faculties by:
    • producing your notarial records for inspection;
    • providing all information and explanations requested; and
    • complying with all requests from an inspector and/or the Master of the Faculties or his representative as to the form in which you produce any notarial records held electronically, and providing photocopies or copies in the form requested of any notarial records for the inspector or other representative of the Master of the Faculties to take away.
  • You provide any necessary permissions for information to be given, so as to enable an inspector and/or the Master of the Faculties to:
    • prepare a report on any notarial records produced; and
    • seek verification from clients, staff and the banks, building societies or other financial institutions used by you.
  • You co-operate with an inspector in the preparation of the report of an inspection of your practice.
  • You provide any clarification requested by the Registrar once the inspector report has been submitted.
  • You inform your client that the Master of the Faculties is your Regulator and may direct an inspection of your records, including the record of your client’s matter (see also Chapter 14 – Data Protection), for example by including this information in terms of business or in a privacy statement or data protection policy.
  • You obstruct the proper conduct of an inspection by failing to provide the records requested by an inspector or by undue delay in providing those records.
  • Your records are not organised in a manner that facilitates their inspection in an efficient and comprehensive manner.
  • You do not respond promptly and fully to any request for clarification from the Registrar.