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Proof of identity – certification of documents

Comment 6th July 2010

When proof of identity is required (opening bank accounts etc.) the range of individuals who can certify documents should be broadened.

At present, document certification is allowed only by a narrow band of individuals (doctors, lawyers etc) defined by  their occupation.  If an element of objectivity is the requirement, then the term 'anyone who is not a family member or close friend' would be more appropriate.  Afterall, a doctor or lawyer could be a close friend or family member and, therefore, not necessarily provide the objectivity required.

If honesty is the requirement, there is nothing to say that a bank manager would be more honest than a plumber, a shopkeeper or a neighbour.



Why does this matter?

I feel this change is important  as:

1. Those on the list of specified occupations may not always be willing to co-operate.

2.  It can be difficult to find people on the specified list of occupations without a lot of fuss. Anyone living on a housing estate, in a small village or in a rural area  may well have difficulty reaching such individuals without a tiresome journey, and without, possibly, having to pay a fee as well.

3. It seems a rather old-fashioned and rather disdainful notion that a doctor , bank manager or a lawyer is somehow more worthy than a neighbour, a shopkeeper or a plumber.  Neither does this classification sit well with notions of 'equality'!

4. One has to question what one is trying to achieve by specifying certain occupations for certification of documents – is it objectivity? honesty? reliability? – and ask why a broader range of individuals, (anyone who is not a family member or close friend) , cannot provide the same service.

5. A broader range of individuals, qualified to certify documents, would facilitate this process for a great many people.







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