This page contains information on how I identify individuals.
This normally involves no more than seeing
- your passport; plus
- two documents:
- which have your residential address and
- which you have received in the post and
- which are less than 3 months old (e.g. a recent utility bill and recent bank statement).
The rest of this page deals with the detail of identifying you.
Do I have to identify everyone I see?
Yes. For most people this means seeing their passport plus two documents which have your residential address, such as a recent utility bill and a bank statement. Any utility bill or bank statement should be less than 3 months old.
What if you do not arrive with identification?
I have to identify everyone. There are no exceptions to this (just as you will have to provide identification when opening a bank account or applying for a mortgage).
If you come without identification (or the right identification), then I cannot carry out any notary work for you (or complete it) until you provide the right identification documents.
Can you provide copies of your identification documents (rather than the originals)?
Unfortunately not. I will always need to see original of documents.
Can you provide documents you have downloaded from the internet or your received by email
Unfortunately not. Documents you downloaded from the internet or you receive by email are not normally acceptable. These are usually provided as PDFs, but many PDF software applications allow for the easy editing of the contents of such PDFs. See further below.
What I do with the identification you provide
I make a copy and keep it.
If there is more than one person coming at a time, do I need to identify each person?
Yes. I need to identify each person separately.
For each person I need to see their passport, and separate/different bank statements or utility bills.
What will happen if you cannot supply original documents which you have received in the post, are less 3 months old and state your residential address?
What will happen if you cannot provide your passport?
Many people nowadays opt to receive their bills via the internet (rather than sent in paper form by post). Or their passport may not be available (if they have sent it to an embassy).
Although the lack of such documentation can cause problems, it is possible to deal with any problems, in most cases, fairly easily. Identification, involves 2 stages, the first is providing something which identifies you and has your photograph, and the second is something which has your name and residential address: Here is a list of acceptable documentation:
- photograph identification. a passport, a photo-card driving licence1
- confirmation of where you live. In addition to utility bills or bank statements, it is likely you will receive documents from the government (such as HMRC) or a local authority, insurance companies ,etc. Whatever you provide under this category must be dated (and not be dated more than 3 months before the date of your appointment). It is rare, in my experience, for a person to receive nothing at all by post.
If you cannot provide your passport as your means of photo ID then I can accept your photo-card driving licence as a your primary means of photo identification. If this is the case I will sometime also wish to carry out a search on the gov.uk government website to “View or share your driving licence information” at https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence. If this is the following will apply:
- For me to carry out such a check you will need to generate a code at https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence
- For you to generate the code please visit https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence;
- You will have to provide your driving licence number, your national insurance number and the postcode which appears on the driving licence.
If you do not have any identification as mentioned on this page
You receive all my bills and bank statements online now
Although many people nowadays no longer receive utilities or bank statements in the post, I find it is rare for someone not to have any acceptable documentation (other than a passport). Usually, this involves a bit more searching among your records.
Most people still receive a number of different types of documents throughout the year and through the post:
- HMRC PAYE tax coding document;
- other documentation from the HMRC (such as tax calculations, statements of account, etc);
- council tax demands and other correspondence from a local authority;
- insurance documents (such as renewal notices, policy documents etc for building, contents, driving or other types of insurance);
- documentation relating to financial transactions or holdings (such as correspondence relating to shareholdings, investments);
- any invoices, details or other correspondence from membership organisations (such as a professional membership, or community, charity or arts organisations);
- correspondence from an employer (such as payslips etc).
All of these are also acceptable forms of identification (if the document has your address, is not printed off the internet and is not more than 3 months old).
But if you do not have anything (such as that which is listed above), it is still possible to identify you, but will just take longer.
I may need to see (or obtain) other documents regarding your identity (for example such as a birth certificate) or have to contact other persons to confirm your identity (for example, someone who has known you for a while and holds a “responsible” position, such as a doctor, another lawyer, bank manager etc).
Unacceptable forms of identification
The following are some unacceptable forms of identification:
- a bank statement2 or utility bill which is printed from your computer (ie a statement or bill you have received by email or by downloading it from a web site)
- a credit or debit card itself and alone
- a mobile telephone bill
You work for a company or an organisation, do I still need to identify you?
Yes. If you are, for example, signing a document on behalf of a company or an organisation or doing something else which is required by them (such as making a personal affidavit/declaration) I still need to identify you in the way described on this page.
What does identification involve, practically?
It involves the following steps:
- you completing a form
- you signing the form (so that I have a sample of your signature)
- your providing the originals of your passport and the second form of identification
- with me making a copy of the identification documents (and keeping them)
How often do I needed to be identified?
I do not need to identify a person on each occasion I see them. My policy on identifying a person:
for a person I have not seen before I need to identify them in accordance with this page of my website
for a person I have seen before I normally will:
not re-identify them if I have seen them recently (ie in the past 1–2 months) and their identification documents/details have not changed;
not re-identify other than once every year (or sometimes longer) if I have known them (and where relevant, their organisation) for an extended period, and I have seen the person at least several times in the recent past (such as in a period of a year) and their identification documents/details have not changed;
not re-identify other than once a year if I have known them (and where relevant, their organisation) for an extended period, but have only seen then a couple of times in the recent past (such as in a period of a year) and their identification documents/details have not changed.
The above are subject to exceptions and my duty to comply with ant-terrorism and money laundering regulations.
Last modified: 7 February 2021