I work for a legal organisation and for various reasons, we are considering using a seal on some of our documents, such as witness statements witnessed by our solicitors. Is there any legal issues with using a seal? For example, are there any requirements as to who can use a seal? and what exactly is the seal promising?
Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. Are you referring to a limited company and wish to use a Company seal? Kind regards AJ
no, we are a legal charity.
Hi, Does the charity have a charter or articles of association? Thank you kind regards AJ
yes it does, i believe. Thanks.
A witness statement can only be given by an individual in which case that individual will sign the statement of truth on it. If you are talking about executing deeds or contracts on behalf of the charity the only way you will know if this can be done by using the Charity's seal is to look in its constitution (i,e articles of association, charter etc). You must have a document somewhere that tells you what powers the Charity has? Kind regards AJ
We quite often witness the signature of the individual who is making the witness statement. We then get the statement legalised by the foreign office and then a relevant embassy. the embassies ask that the statement is signed by a commissioner of oaths or a notary. so that is where our seal would come in. we do not have an notaries but we have solicitors which i understand come under the title of "commissioner of oaths". we have had problems in the past with the embassies not accepting our signatures and think this is probably just cosmetic, so a seal could be more official. are there any problems with doing this?
If you have a solicitor working for you and the solicitor notarises the document then it is fine. But the solicitor must notarised it in their role as a solicitor of England and Wales not as an employee of the Charity.
how do you distinguish these roles?
Hi, It will be up to the solicitor to do that. Presumably the solicitor has a practising certificate?
yes, he does.
The legalisation office can apostille documents that have been certified by a solicitor. The solicitor you have can sure certify the documents that require legalising?
yes and that is how we have done things in the past but the issues comes when we then need the embassy to attest the documents. they say that they cannot attest it without a seal. but as we are not notary publics is it ok to use a seal?
Ok that is clearer. You will have to check the Articles of Association of the charity to see if it has a seal and if it can execute its documents with the seal. If it doesnt then sometime the alternative would be two directors signing or one director in the presence of a witness.
ah ok, thanks so much! just one last question though. you said earlier that the solicitor could not sign it as an employee of the charity. does this mean that the seal cannot be the charities seal (providing it says so in the articles of association)?
No problem. What I meant was if the solicitor is certifying a document they must do so in their capacity as a solicitor not as an employee of the charity. The seal can be the Charities if that is what is required. Give me an example of the sort of document you will send to an Embassy? Kind regards AJ
ok, sure. for example a good character statement from someone who knows our client.
I see. You will need to check the Charities Constitution it is the only way to find out. Kind regards AJ
ok thanks very much for your help! i will do that.
LLB, LPC, DELF
Thank you kindly for accepting my answer.This link will remain open should you require any further assistance.Kind regardsAJ
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