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25 August 2023

Can I notarise copies of UK Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates?

We have previously been asked to notarise official government issued certificates, which we are unable to do. In this post, we explain why we cannot do this under any circumstances.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

notarise certificates

We have previously been asked to notarise copies of official government issued UK marriage, birth and death certificates. However, it is illegal to do so unless it is a certified copy or an original document.

Why can I not get my certificates authenticated?

Original UK marriage, birth and death certificates are government-issued and do not need certification. Notarising them would serve no purpose.

However, in some cases, it is necessary to get an apostille certificate, which we can assist with.

Why can I not use a photocopy of an original document?

Only the Government is allowed to issue certified copies of certificates, as the certificates are protected by Crown copyright law. This is to prevent fraud.

Additionally, making a photocopy of such a document is against the law, and a breach of Crown Copyright, section 163, Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

The Crown copyright notice is found at the bottom of all UK government issued birth, marriage and death certificates. An example of this is below for reference purposes:

Furthermore, a photocopy of, for example, a UK Birth Certificate, cannot be used as proof of your birth certificate. But, you can use your photocopies for other purposes unrelated to proving something happened.

The National Archive has more information on the rules around copying documents. 

General Register Office (GRO) Certificates

GRO is the governmental body which issues official UK certificates. You cannot make your own certified copy of these certificates.

The list of documents includes:

  • Birth Certificates
  • Death Certificates
  • Adoption Certificates
  • Marriage Certificates
  • Civil Partnership Certificates
  • Certificates of No Impediment
  • Letters of No Trace

However, there are certificates this does not apply to:

  • Non GRO Marriage Certificates, such as Islamic Marriage Certificates
  • Baptism Certificates

Documents that need to be notarised

While certificates from GRO do not need notarisation, many types of documents do require a notary. These include affidavits, powers of attorney, property documents for use abroad, Certificates of Life, and Certificates of Incorporation, among others.

We have a full list of documents that may need notarisation on our website. Nevertheless, if you are unsure if your documents need to be notarised, contact us.

What you need to do to use your documents abroad

If you are looking to use your certificates overseas, you do not need to get them notarised. You will however, need to get them legalised, or acquire an apostille for them. 

You can find out more about legalisation and apostilles from our page. Also, you can get in touch with us if you need more information about using documents abroad.

Contact us

We are experts in all matters related to notarisation. 

If you need our assistance, contact us today.


If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services,
contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0330 133 6480 or email

If you have any questions about our notary, apostille or consular services, contact Woodcock Notary Public today.

Call us on 0330 133 6480 or email