Qualification as a Scrivener Notary

Qualification as a Scrivener Notary is now governed by the Scriveners (Qualifications) Rules 2019 which came into force on 18 July 2019. Click on the link to download the full document, or see below.

Rule 3 provides that, in order to qualify as a scrivener notary, it is first necessary to qualify as a general notary. Qualification as a general notary is governed by rules made by the Master of the Faculties. A copy can be obtained by writing to:

The Registrar of the Court of Faculties
1 The Sanctuary
London SW1P 3JT


It is a requirement of the rules made by the Master of the Faculties (the Notaries (Qualification) Rules 1998) that an applicant for appointment as a general notary must hold a university degree or have been admitted to practice as a solicitor or barrister, and must also satisfy the academic requirements of the Rules as set out in Schedule 2 thereto by following appropriate courses of study or obtaining exemptions. The notarial practice module of the Rules is currently taught by University College London and examined by the Scriveners Company through its Examination in Advanced Notarial Law and Practice.

A general notary wishing to qualify as a scrivener notary must first give notice to the Clerk of the Company of this intention. There are two parts to qualification as a scrivener notary. The first is the entering into of a training agreement or supervision arrangement with a practising scrivener notary. The second is the sitting of examinations in:

  • notarial practice
  • the legal system of a foreign country
  • two foreign languages (translation and drafting skills).


The syllabus for each examination is set out in the schedules to the Scriveners (Qualifications) Rules. If you are interested in entering into a training agreement with a scrivener notary you will need to contact one or more of the firms of scrivener notaries operating in central London. Click here for further details.


SCRIVENERS (QUALIFICATIONS) RULES 2019
(RULES RELATING TO QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRACTICE AS A SCRIVENER NOTARY)
_______________________________________________________________________________________

The Master, Wardens and Assistants of the Society of Scriveners of the City of London in pursuance of the powers conferred upon them by their charter make the following Rules:

1. These Rules come into force on 18 July 2019.
2. In these Rules:
“Approved master’s degree” means the degree referred to in rule 4;
“Candidate” means any person who has given notice to the Clerk in the manner prescribed in rule 3(i) of his or her intention to qualify as a Scrivener Notary;
“the Clerk” means the Clerk of the Company;
“the Committee” means the Notarial Committee of the Company;
“the Company” means the Master, Wardens and Assistants of the Society of Scriveners of the City of London otherwise known as the Incorporated Company of Scriveners of London;
“Faculty” means a Faculty issued by the Court of Faculties of the Archbishop of Canterbury;
“general notary” means a public notary holding a Faculty to practise in all parts of England and Wales;
“the Master of the Faculties” means the Commissary or Deputy of the Archbishop of Canterbury who exercises the jurisdiction of the Court of Faculties and to whom all applications for admission as a notary are made;
“the Master’s Rules” means the Notaries (Qualification) Rules 2017 made by the Master of the Faculties as amended or re-made from time to time;
“person” means any individual whether male or female and any words referring to person in the masculine gender include the feminine gender;
“Qualifications Board” means the board established by rule 6 of the Master’s Rules;
“Scrivener Notary” means a member of the Company who holds (a) the qualifications to practise as a Scrivener Notary as prescribed from time to time by the Company and (b) a current practising certificate issued by the Court of Faculties.

General
3. No person shall be entitled to be admitted as a Scrivener Notary until he or she:
(i) has given notice to the Clerk of his or her intention to qualify as a Scrivener Notary accompanied by such fee as may from time to time be specified by the Company;
(ii) has qualified as a general notary in accordance with the Master’s Rules;
(iii) (a) has passed the examination in foreign law relevant to notarial practice referred to in rule 4 or is in possession of an Approved master’s degree,
and
(b) has passed the foreign language examinations and the examination in advanced notarial practice set by the Company as specified in Schedules 4 and 5 to these Rules;
(iv) has completed the period of practical training prescribed by rules 6 to 12 or the period of supervised practice prescribed by rules 13 to 23; and
(v) has received a certificate of Freedom of the Company.

Master’s degree
4. In order that he or she may acquire the knowledge necessary to engage in the specialised areas of international legal practice undertaken by Scrivener Notaries, a Candidate is required:
EITHER to pass the examination in foreign law relevant to notarial practice as specified in Schedule 3,
OR to be in possession of a post-graduate degree in a relevant field of law from a university or other institute of higher education.
5. For the purposes of rule 4 above, “relevant field of law” means a field of law that, in the opinion of the Committee after consultation with the Qualifications Board, is relevant to a particular area or particular areas of the specialised international work undertaken by Scrivener Notaries.

Practical Training
6.1 In order to receive practical training and gain experience in the work of a Scrivener Notary, a Candidate (unless he or she has elected with the agreement of the Committee to undergo a period of supervised practice in accordance with rules 13 to 23 below) must enter into a training agreement with a Scrivener Notary in full-time independent practice as a principal.
The training agreement shall be for a period of two years unless, on the application of the Candidate made to the Clerk prior to the entering into of the training agreement, the Committee decides that the duration of the training should be reduced.
The minimum duration of a training agreement is six months.
In making its decision to reduce the duration of the training agreement or not to reduce it, the Committee shall take into consideration the following matters:

  • any period during which the Candidate has been in practice as a general notary, and/or
  • any period during which the Candidate has been employed in the office of a Scrivener Notary with a view to qualification as a Scrivener Notary, and
  • the experience actually gained in the course of such practice or employment.
A Candidate is only entitled to apply for a reduction in the duration of his or her training agreement if a copy of his or her contract of employment has been lodged with the Clerk within six months of the commencement of such employment and the fee for registration of the contract of employment from time to time specified by the Company has been paid.
In this rule “employment” includes any period or periods during which the Candidate has, with the permission of the Scrivener Notary by whom he or she was then employed, spent prior to the entering into of the training agreement working with notaries or other lawyers in a foreign country or countries for any of the purposes mentioned in rule 7 below.
7. A Candidate may, with the permission of the Scrivener Notary with whom he or she has entered into a training agreement, spend a period or periods working with notaries or other lawyers in a foreign country or countries so that he or she may:
improve his or her knowledge of the language or languages of the said country or countries, and/or
gain practical experience of legal procedures in the said country or countries, and
acquire skills in the drafting of notarial acts and other legal documents used in the said country or countries.
Any period or periods spent working with notaries or other lawyers in a foreign country or countries as referred to above shall be counted as part of the duration (but no more than one quarter of that duration) of the training agreement referred to in rule 6.
8. The training agreement to be entered into by the Candidate and the Scrivener Notary shall be substantially in the form prescribed in Schedule 1 to these Rules.
9. Within one month after the training agreement has been entered into, the Candidate shall produce it to the Clerk who shall record it in a register maintained for the purpose.
10. Upon registration of the training agreement, the Candidate shall pay to the Clerk such fee for registration as may from time to time be fixed by the Company.
11. Save for such period when he or she is working in a foreign country as provided for in rule 7, the Candidate shall be instructed by the Scrivener Notary with whom he or she has entered into a training agreement in the proper business and practice of a Scrivener Notary throughout the duration of the training agreement.
At the conclusion of the training agreement the Scrivener Notary shall certify in the form prescribed in Schedule 2 that the Candidate has completed the full period of the training agreement.
12. On the occurrence of any one of the following events:
  • the Scrivener Notary dies before the expiry of the period of the training agreement,
  • the Scrivener Notary discontinues his or her practice as a Scrivener Notary, or
  • the training agreement is cancelled by mutual agreement between the Candidate and the Scrivener Notary,
the Candidate may enter into a new training agreement with another Scrivener Notary for the purpose of completing the remainder of the period of the terminated training agreement and shall produce the new training agreement to the Clerk who shall register it as provided for in rule 9.
Each Scrivener Notary with whom the Candidate entered into a training agreement shall certify in the form prescribed in Schedule 2, modified as appropriate, the period of the training agreement that was completed and state any period or periods spent by the Candidate working abroad with foreign notaries or lawyers.
In the event of the death of the Scrivener Notary with whom the Candidate entered into the training agreement, the Candidate shall make a statutory declaration stating the period during which he or she was instructed by the deceased Scrivener Notary and any period or periods spent by the Candidate working abroad with foreign notaries or other lawyers.

Supervised Practice
13. A Candidate who has:
  • passed the examination in foreign law relevant to notarial practice referred to in rule 4 or obtained an Approved master’s degree,
  • passed the foreign language examinations and the examination in advanced notarial practice set by the Company as specified in Schedules 4 and 5 to these Rules, and
  • is in actual practice as a general notary,
may on application to the Clerk and with the agreement of the Committee elect to undergo a period of supervised practice instead of entering into a training agreement.
14. Upon receipt of an application to undergo a period of supervised practice, the Clerk will refer the matter to the Committee and if the Committee accepts the Candidate’s application it will appoint a supervisor for the Candidate. The Clerk will notify the Candidate accordingly.
15. A supervisor must be a Scrivener Notary of at least five years’ standing.
16. Upon notification to the Candidate of the appointment of a supervisor, the Candidate shall pay such fee in respect of the appointment as may from time to time be determined by the Company.
17. The Candidate shall, during the two years immediately following the appointment of the supervisor, practise as a notary under the supervision of the supervisor and the following shall apply:
(i) during the said period the supervisor shall visit the office of the Candidate at least once every four months to inspect the work, records and accounts of the Candidate, provided that the supervisor shall not inspect:
(a) in the case of a Candidate who carries out legal activities otherwise than as part of his or her notarial practice, any work, records or accounts relating to such work; or
(b) any work, records or accounts which the Candidate for good reason is unwilling to show the Supervisor,
and, in the latter case, the Candidate must arrange for the inspection of such work, records or accounts by another Scrivener Notary of at least five years’ standing and who shall advise the results of such inspection to the supervisor;
(ii) during the said period the supervisor shall make himself or herself available at all reasonable times at the supervisor’s usual place of business to answer queries raised by the Candidate on matters pertaining to the practice of a Scrivener Notary.
18. A supervisor shall ensure, insofar as he or she is able, that the Candidate is aware of and complies with all rules and orders made by the Master of the Faculties and conducts himself or herself in a manner calculated to maintain the reputation of the office of a Scrivener Notary.
19. A supervisor shall be entitled to charge the Candidate a fee or fees not exceeding the level prescribed from time to time in regulations made by the Committee and approved by the Company together with reasonable expenses of travel, subsistence and (where necessary) accommodation.
20. If a supervisor shall die or discontinue his or her practice as a Scrivener Notary before the completion of the period of supervision then the Committee will, on the application of the Candidate, appoint another supervisor willing to undertake the supervision of the Candidate for the remainder of the said period.
21. Every Candidate shall maintain a supervision register in a format approved by the Committee in which shall be recorded:
(i) by the supervisor, a record of every visit and inspection made by the supervisor pursuant to rule 17(i) including any inspection by another Scrivener Notary made pursuant to the same rule where the Candidate is for good reason unwilling to show the supervisor any work, records or accounts;
(ii) by the supervisor and the Candidate, a record of the fees charged by the supervisor;
and
(iii) by the supervisor at the end of the period of supervision, a statement of whether or not in the supervisor’s view the Candidate is a fit and proper person to be admitted as a Scrivener Notary.
22. At the conclusion of the supervision period the Candidate shall produce the supervision register to the Clerk for scrutiny by the Committee and, if required by the Committee, the Candidate shall attend in person before the Committee to answer any queries arising from such scrutiny and in order that he may, if the Committee thinks fit, be examined viva voce on any matter concerning the practice of a Scrivener Notary and the deontology (ethical framework) of the profession.
23. Following such scrutiny and, where applicable, viva voce examination, the Committee may either direct the chairman of the Committee to issue to the Candidate a certificate of completion of the supervision period or it may extend the supervision for such further period as it considers reasonable in the circumstances of the case.

Examinations
24. A Candidate is (except as otherwise provided by these Rules) required to pass:
(a) the examination set by the Company in foreign law relevant to notarial practice as specified in Schedule 3 to these Rules,
(b) the foreign language examinations set by the Company as specified in Schedule 4 to these Rules, and
(c) the examination in advanced notarial practice set by the Company as specified in Schedule 5 to these Rules.
25. Examinations will be held in January and July in each year, subject to demand, at such times and places as the Committee may direct.
26. A Candidate intending to take one or more examinations in January in any given year shall give notice to the Clerk of his or her desire to do so and pay such fee or fees as may be fixed by the Company from time to time by the end of October in the preceding year.
A Candidate intending to take one or more examinations in July in any given year shall give notice to the Clerk of his or her desire to do so and pay such fee or fees as may be fixed by the Company from time to time by the end of April in the same year.
The Committee shall consider each notice of desire to be examined and make a decision whether or not to set the examination requested.
The Candidate shall be notified by the Clerk of the Committee’s decision by the end of November (in respect of an application to take an examination in January) or by the end of May (in respect of an application to take an examination in July) following receipt of the notice of desire to be examined.
In the event that the Committee decides not to set the examination requested, the fee paid at the time of submitting the notice of desire to be examined is to be refunded.
27. All matters not regulated in these Rules relating to the syllabus for the examinations, their conduct, the standard to be achieved in the marking of papers, the notification of results and anything incidental thereto shall be governed by regulations made by the Committee and approved by the Company from time to time.
Any person desiring to take an examination set by the Company shall be bound by such regulations as are in force at the time when his or her notice of desire to be examined is accepted by the Committee.
28. The Committee shall not permit any person who has failed to attain a sufficient standard in any examination to sit the examination or examinations on more than four occasions.
29. As soon as a Candidate has:
  • complied with the educational requirements prescribed by these Rules,
  • produced to the Clerk:
    • a certificate of completion of the training agreement as required by rule 11 together with such certificates or statutory declarations as are required by rule 12, or
    • such certificate of completion of the supervision period as is referred to in rule 23, and
  • been admitted to the freedom of the Company according to the rules, ordinances and procedures of the Company,
the Clerk shall present to the Candidate a signed certificate of admission as a Scrivener Notary.

Appeals
30. If a Candidate is dissatisfied with any decision or determination made by the Committee in the exercise of any of the discretions reserved to it under these Rules, he or she shall be entitled to have his or her appeal against such decision or determination heard by a panel consisting of two non-notary members of the Company together with one independent Scrivener Notary who is not on the Committee, such panel to be selected by the Master of the Company. The panel shall be chaired by one of the two non-notary members.
In the event of the Candidate’s appeal being successful, the decision or determination of the panel shall be substituted for that of the Committee.

Repeal
31. The Scriveners (Qualifications) Rules 1991, to the extent that their effect was preserved by rule 37 of the Scriveners (Qualifications) Rules 1998, and the Scriveners (Qualifications) Rules 1998 are hereby repealed.
Dated this … day of … 201[].
Approved by the Master, Wardens and Assistants of the Society of Scriveners of the City of London on the ….

Schedule 1

Training Agreement

THIS TRAINING AGREEMENT is made on the [day] day of [month] 20[…]

BETWEEN [full names], a Scrivener Notary in full-time independent practice as a principal at [address] (hereinafter referred to as “the Scrivener Notary”) and [full names] of [address] (hereinafter referred to as “the Candidate”).

WHEREAS
i. the Candidate is a general notary (as defined in the Scriveners (Qualifications) Rules 201[]) and wishes to receive practical training and to gain experience in the work of scrivener notaries with a view to qualifying as a scrivener notary.
ii. the Scrivener Notary has agreed to instruct the Candidate in the practice of a scrivener notary for a period of [insert duration of training agreement] in consideration of the covenants by the Candidate hereinafter set out.

NOW THIS DEED WITNESSES AS FOLLOWS:

1. The Candidate hereby agrees during the period of [insert duration of training agreement] commencing on the day of the date of this agreement to accept instruction from or on behalf of the Scrivener Notary on matters relating to the practice and profession of a scrivener notary.

2. The Candidate covenants and agrees with the Scrivener Notary that throughout the said period of [insert duration of training agreement] s/he will:
(i) faithfully and diligently perform such duties as may be required of him/her by the Scrivener Notary,
and
(ii) at all times observe confidentiality in respect of all matters disclosed to him/her by the Scrivener Notary or by any of his/her clients or by any notary or lawyer or any of his or her clients in a foreign country or countries during any period when with the permission of the Scrivener Notary s/he is working in the office of any such notary or lawyer.

3. The Scrivener Notary covenants and agrees with the Candidate that during the said period of [insert duration of training agreement] s/he will instruct or cause the Candidate to be taught and instructed in the profession and practice of a scrivener notary.

4. The Scrivener Notary covenants and agrees with the Candidate that, provided the Candidate has faithfully and diligently performed his obligations under this agreement, s/he will provide the Candidate with any certificate or other document or do anything which may be required to assist the Candidate to become a scrivener notary.

IN WITNESS whereof the parties have put their signatures on the day and in the year written above.


Signed and delivered as a deed in [place of execution of deed] by
the said [full names of the Scrivener Notary]


_______________________

in the presence of:


Name of witness
Address
Occupation
and by the said [full names of Candidate]


_______________________

in the presence of:


Name of witness
Address
Occupation



Schedule 2

Certificate of completion of period of training agreement


I [full names] a Scrivener Notary in full-time independent practice as a principal at [address] state that on the [day] day of [month] 20[…], [full names of Candidate] entered into a training agreement with me under which I was required to instruct the Candidate in matters relating to the practice and profession of a scrivener notary for a period of [insert duration of training agreement] to be counted from the day of the date of the said agreement and I confirm that since the [day] day of [month] 20[…] [full names of Candidate] has received instruction from me for a period of [insert duration of training agreement] and I hereby certify that s/he has now duly completed the period of [insert duration of training agreement] provided for in the said agreement.

Signed
Dated



Schedule 3

Syllabus for the examination in foreign law relevant to notarial practice


A three-hour closed-book written paper examining the following aspects of the laws of a foreign country or jurisdiction selected by the Candidate and approved by the Committee:
  • the law of movable and immovable property including the transfer and alienation thereof;
  • the use of such property for securing loans;
  • matrimonial regimes;
  • succession;
  • companies and other legal entities;
  • conflict of law rules insofar as they relate to the above aspects.



Schedule 4

Syllabus for the foreign language examinations

(i) Main language: examined in two papers both of three hours’ duration, the first (for which the use of dictionaries is not permitted) consisting of the translation into English of legal documents, commercial documents, legislation, legal opinions or similar material in a foreign language selected by the Candidate and approved by the Committee. The second paper (for which the use of dictionaries – up to 3 volumes may be taken into the examination room – is permitted) consists of the translation into the same foreign language of similar material in English and the drafting in the same foreign language of notarial acts and related documents;

(ii) Subsidiary language: examined in one paper (for which the use of dictionaries – up to 3 volumes may be taken into the examination room – is permitted) of three hours’ duration consisting of typical tasks involving foreign-language documents, including correcting, completing and commenting on texts in the subsidiary foreign language selected by the Candidate and approved by the Committee and the translation from the same foreign language into English of standard documents commonly encountered in notarial practice.

Note – choice of languages:

The Candidate’s choice of language both for the main language and for the subsidiary language papers shall be subject to the approval of the Committee. In reaching its decision the Committee shall have regard to the anticipated utility of the foreign language in the context of the Candidate’s notarial practice.


Schedule 5

Syllabus for the examination in advanced notarial practice


A three-hour closed-book written paper consisting of questions involving the following matters:
  • forms of notarial act – attestation, public and private form, exemplification certificates, including drafting skills and an appreciation of the reason for and significance of form in relation to different jurisdictions;
  • the rules and regulations applying to notaries;
  • the evidential status of notarial acts;
  • the law and practice relating to powers of attorney and other forms of agency;
  • oaths and affirmations, affidavits and statutory declarations;
  • bills of exchange, promissory notes and cheques;
  • ship protests;
  • miscellaneous operations, including bond and debenture stock operations and share issue ballots.




Schedule 6

Examination marking and notification of results

The pass mark in all papers shall be 50%.

All papers shall be double marked and moderated in accordance with regulations made from time to time by the Notarial Committee.
The Clerk shall notify candidates in writing as soon as practicable after the Committee has reached a decision on the results of examinations and shall report such results to the Court of Assistants of the Company at the Court meeting next held after the decision on the results of the examinations has been reached.

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