- Project Runeberg -  A practical guide for Russian consular officers and all persons having relations with Russia /

(1916) Author: Alfons Heyking - Tema: Russia
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which may
be drawn up
or legalised
by Elective

CHAPTER IV.—Drawing up, Legalising, and
Attesting Documents.

Every document to be legalised by a State or Elective Consular
Officer must be presented to him in duplicate, as an exact copy of
every such document requires to be preserved in the archives of the

Whether a document which is to be legalised by the Consulate is
of use to the applicants, is a question which must be decided by these
persons themselves. The Consul must be ready to legalise documents
and to draw them up on application, if such are not contrary to the
law, but it is quite outside his province to judge the circumstances
which lead the applicant to ask for the drawing up or legalising of a
document. For instance, Consuls must be very careful not to impose
upon captains of ships to have Bills of Health drawn up or legalised
by the Consulate, if such are not strictly necessary. It must be borne
in mind that Consular Officers are only too readily accused by the
public of incurring on their behalf expenses which are not strictly
necessary ; therefore, Consular Officers should be very careful not to
express an opinion as to the necessity of a person being supplied with
a document from the Consulate. However, this does not apply to
the vise of passports for going abroad, which is, of course, obligatory.
But in documents of a purely private nature it is even difficult, if not
impossible, for the Consul to form an opinion of the purpose which such
are meant to serve. Sometimes it happens that Consular Officers
deliver certificates which they consider really unnecessary, but still
they must comply with the request, on the supposition that the
applicants have some reason of their own for asking for such certificates.
This is the only way of dealing with consular business, as otherwise
interference with private affairs would be unavoidable, and Consular
Officers must not incur such responsibility.

In legalising and drawing up documents, Russian Consular Officers
must distinguish the following cases :—

I. The State or Elective Consular Officer may draw up or attest
documents in which mere matters of fact are certified, such as invoices,
bills of lading, bills of health, certificates of origin, copies of documents,
diplomas relating to the conferring of orders, protocols and similar
documents.1 This form of attestation, which consists in merely
witnessing the authenticity of the signatures to such documents without
certifying that they are drawn up in accordance with the laws of the
land, is also employed in the case of certificates or deeds issued by
local institutions or officials, which do not testify to an agreement or
contract between two or more parties. In the latter case the State or
Elective Consular Officer must mention in his attestation the official
position or status of the signatory.’2 When legalising a probate to a
will granted by local official institutions, it is done without certifying

1 Only Russian State Consular Officers are entitled to inscribe the name of
a child or of the wife of a Russian man on the latter’s passport, on the strength
of proper birth or marriage certificates.

2 Imperial Russian Law of 8th June 1893.

§§ 81, 82.

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