Society's News

Response of Bristol Law Society to the Ministry of Justice’s Consultation on Criminal Legal Aid Contracts

Bristol Law Society, thanks to Ian Kelcey and Michael Gupwell, has submitted a response to the Consultation currently being held by the MOJ. Please find the response here: Ministry of Justice Consultation on Duty Contracts – Bristol Law Society response

And the shortlisted nominees for the 2014 Bristol Law Society Awards are ….

Here! After a record number of nominations, the BLS panel has met and announced the shortlist of nominees for each award. Congratulations to everyone nominated. You can see the full list of those shortlisted below. The awards categories are:- 1. Law Student of the Year (sponsor: BLS Recruitment) Awarded to a law student who has shown exceptional endeavour and commitment … more

Annual Awards Dinner Fast Approaching

With under a week to go to the BLS Annual Awards Dinner, speculation is mounting about who will win the illustrious awards. Guest of Honour, Joshua Rozenberg, will be presenting the awards and the shortlisted candidates can be seen here. The dinner is at The Marriott City Centre Hotel and the champagne reception starts at 6:15pm. The four-course dinner starts … more


Michael Gupwell of Gregg Latchams is a Notary Public. In this article, he draws back the veil of secrecy and introduces the role of a Notary.

Notaries public are a distinct type of lawyer, separate from solicitors or barristers, whose origins date back to Roman times.

A notary public’s role is to execute or certify documents where required, which is usually when the documents are for use in a foreign jurisdiction.  The notary will identify the appearer and verify their authority and capacity, before ensuring that they understand and intend the purpose of the document for execution.  They will then ensure that the document is executed validly for the jurisdiction where the document is to be used and notarise the document with their signature and unique seal.

Certain jurisdictions have further requirements before the documents can be used and a notary can advise about what might be required and help the appearer arrange for the further steps to be undertaken.

Most notaries are or have been solicitors, but it is not a necessary requirement.  However, the notarial qualification has certain obligatory elements, some of which are completed as part of becoming a solicitor or barrister.  The other learning elements are covered on the Notarial Practice Course, which will be run by University College London from the Autumn of 2012.  The best way to find out more, and a requirement for passing the course, is attendance at one of the Notaries Society Open Days.

After passing the Notarial Practice Course and meeting the requirements to be awarded their notarial faculty, a notary then has to successfully complete a 2 year period of supervision before finally being able to practise fully independently.

For further information, contact Michael Gupwell at