It is permissible for a notary public to certify the fact that the signature on a document is that of the signatory known to him provided that the notary follows the procedure below:-
A notary may properly witness the signature only if it is signed in his presence. Similarly he may authenticate the due execution of a document only if it is executed in his physical presence. Occasionally, however, a notary may be asked to verify that the signature is genuine, even though he was not present when the signing took place.
If he accepts such instructions then he must adhere to the following minimum standards:-
1. On a prior occasion the Notary must have first seen the signatory affix his signature to a form which is retained in the protocol file of the Notary;
2. The Notary should check the continued existence of the signatory regularly;
3. If the signatory is a representative of an organisation or company his continued authority should be checked regularly;
4. The Notary should at the time of verifying the signature take such steps as are reasonable to ensure that the signatory has in fact signed the particular document;
5. The certificate must be unequivocal and must not state or imply that the signature has been fixed in the presence of the Notary or that the document has been properly executed;
6. The Notary must refuse to certify the unattested signature if sole attestation by a notary is required to complete the formal requirements for the proper execution of the document.
Marty Burn, Notary Public Oxford