WITNESS STATEMENTS: Our courts and our Central Authority require as standard an unsworn (but formal) witness statement to prove service – similar to a declaration under penalty of perjury in the US. There is no additional charge for providing this form of proof of service.
AFFIDAVITS: The usual alternative to an unsworn witness statement is an affidavit. Our affidavits are sworn on oath or formally affirmed before a court official or a commissioner for oaths (usually a Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales) under his/her signature (a Solicitor will generally use a formal ink stamp to confirm his/her authority, but never a seal).
NOTARIZED AFFIDAVITS: Notaries Public in the UK are very different to those in the US, in essence being lawyers who have taken an extra qualification. Their fees reflect their status and are based on time spent. The United States has in excess of four million Notaries, whilst England and Wales has less than a thousand! Because we shall have to make an appointment and because Notaries are so few and far between, having an affidavit notarized can involve lengthy travel and waiting times. Thus the fee for a notarized affidavit can easily exceed the cost of the service itself.
DOCUMENT NOTARIZED AT US EMBASSY: The most expensive option, but surely the most unchallengeable, is for our US court affidavits to be notarized with a consular seal at the US Embassy in London. Given Embassy fees, and that the deponent will have to make an appointment and travel to London, the fee will be considerable.
APOSTILLE: Sometimes, a US court has sought proof that an affidavit sworn here is genuine. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers a service of “Legalisation” of official documents (an Apostille is a Legalisation Certificate). Legalisation is the official confirmation that a signature, seal or stamp on a document is genuine. But having a document legalised doesn’t mean that its contents are accurate, nor does it carry any sort of official approval by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the case of an affidavit it simply confirms that it was genuinely sworn in front of a solicitor.
COST: Unsworn witness statements are included in our pricing. Other proofs of service will result in extra charges – please ask.