Procedures to complain about the work of a Notary
To complain about the work of a Notary, you should first ascertain that the individual was providing you with legal services in the capacity of a Notary (and not as a Solicitor or other legal professional).
To complain about the work of a Solicitor, you should contact the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA): www.sra.org.uk.
Contact details of the other legal regulators can be found here: www.legalservicesboard.org.uk/can_we_help/approved_regulators/index.htm.
If you wish to make a comment about the service you have received from a Notary, please contact them directly in the first instance.
If you wish to make a formal complaint about the service you have received from a Notary you should first endeavour to raise the issue with the Notary directly. If this does not resolve the matter you should follow the complaints procedures as set out on this page.
Consumer Guide to Complaints and Discipline: The Faculty Office has published a simple guide to the complaints and discipline system which is used in the relatively small number of complaints which it receives about the conduct of the notaries which it regulates. The guide can be read here: Consumer Guide to Complaints and Discipline
If the Notary is a Scrivener Notary, contact the Clerk of the Scriveners Company for the 1st-stage complaints procedure.
For all other Notaries, contact the Secretary of the Notaries Society for the 1st-stage complaints procedure.
The relevant Society will be able to inform you if a Notary is a member.
If the Notary is not a member of either of the membership bodies, the Faculty Office will handle the matter directly, and will refer the complaint to be considered by one of a panel of independent Notaries.
The 1st-stage procedure is free to use and is designed to provide a quick resolution to any dispute.
You should write (but not enclosing any original documents) with full details of your complaint to the relevant Society (or, if applicable, to The Faculty Office). If you have any difficulty making a complaint in writing, please do not hesitate to call the relevant Society or The Faculty Office for assistance.
If a complaint is made against a Notary and is not resolved under the 1st-stage procedure, the matter is then referred by the Registrar of the Faculty Office to an experienced independent Notary (a ‘Nominated Notary’) for investigation: see the Master of the Faculties’ Guidance to Nominated Notaries for further information.
Allegations about the conduct or practice of a Scrivener Notary are referred to the Worshipful Company of Scriveners / the Society of Scrivener Notaries.
Whilst the matter is being investigated or proceedings are in progress the Registrar may issue an Interim Order to suspend the Notary from practice or limit the Notary’s practice if it is required for the protection of the public.
If the Nominated Notary (or the Worshipful Company of Scriveners / the Society of Scrivener Notaries, if appropriate) considers there may be a case that the Notary has committed Notarial Misconduct the Nominated Notary will prepare and prosecute disciplinary proceedings in the Court of Faculties, on behalf of the original complainant. Disciplinary cases in the Court of Faculties are presided over by an independent judge (the ‘Commissary’ or his Deputy) with two sitting Assessors; not the Master of the Faculties. The details of the timetable for Proceedings in the Court are set out in the Notaries (Conduct and Discipline) Rules 2015, subject to any case-specific directions by the Registrar or Commissary.
Fees and Costs are now set out in the Notaries (Conduct and Discipline) Fees and Costs Order 2015.
The disciplinary sanctions against a Notary who is proved to have committed Notarial Misconduct are:
– Striking off the Roll of Notaries
– Suspension from practice as a Notary (indefinitely, or for a period of time, or until certain conditions have been met)
– Imposing conditions on the Notarial practice of the Notary
– Requiring further training of the Notary
– Ordering that the Notary is reprimanded
A Notary may, in time, apply to the Court for a review of the sanction(s) imposed.
Please note that the Court has no power to require any compensation payments to be made by the Notary to the client who has suffered loss as a result of the Notary’s Misconduct. The Court can, however, order that if indemnity or other monetary payments are not made by the Notary to the client or other person/body then the Notary shall be struck off the Roll of Notaries.
Recent decisions of the Court of Faculties will be published on the website from time to time.
If you decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, you must refer your matter to the Legal Ombudsman within six months from the conclusion of the complaints process.
If you wish to proceed with a complaint against a Notary having read the above, you may wish to fill in the form below , which will send details to the Faculty Office. Alternatively you can send details of your complaint in the post, or telephone us. Contact details are found here.