A Florida civil-law notary, also known as a Florida International Notary, is an officer appointed by the Department of State, rather than the governor, who holds the powers traditionally delegated to notaries in civil-law countries. Although under Florida law, civil-law notaries have all of the same powers and duties as notaries public, they also have much broader and less-regulated authority.
A Florida Civil-law notary can make determinations as to alleged status or capacity. These determinations are found at the end of the document in what are referred to as “notarial acts”. A Florida Civil-Law notary must be members of the Florida Bar for at least 5 years who practice international law. What makes civil-law notaries so different from regular notaries public is that they are responsible for the entire content of the document not just ascertain the signature of the person. Typically, the documents that civil-law notaries involve themselves in are contracts, wills, trusts, documents for international use and other business transaction documents. Whereas a regular notary would simply add an acknowledgment to the end of the document, whereby the signers of the document acknowledge having signed the document willingly, a civil-law notary certifies the actual contents of the document.
Are you a civil law notary? Probably not!!
Are you really a civil law notary?
By Michael Blank – Bar’s UPL Department paralegal
A recent check of The Florida Bar’s website showed that 2,721 individuals have included “civil law notary” in their online profiles as a service they can provide. The list includes 24 inactive members and 12 Florida Registered Paralegals.
The problem is the Florida Secretary of State’s office says there are only 127 civil law notaries in Florida.
Unlike a notary public, a civil law notary is a member of The Florida Bar who has practiced for at least five years and who is appointed by the Secretary of State as a civil law notary after completion of specialized notarial training and passage of a state-administered examination. Civil law notaries have all of the powers of a notary public, but they also have many additional powers and responsibilities.
Check your Florida Bar profile and remove the designation if you are not a civil law notary.
If you would like to apply to become a civil law notary, visit the Secretary of State’s website for more information. Note that you must obtain a “certificate of good standing” from The Florida Bar and the certificate must accompany your application.
I didn’t find the link provided in the article particularly helpful as it directed to the Secretary of State’s general website and I couldn’t find any information on Civil Law Notaries by doing a general peek around the site.
From a quick google search, it looks like you can find the rules, forms, etc. here: http://notaries.dos.state.fl.us/civil.html
But to put it simply, if you are not an attorney, you are definitely not a Florida civil law notary. So, if any of the 12 Florida Registered Paralegals claiming to be Florida civil law notaries happen to be reading this, please correct your profile pronto. You may also want to take a minute to check out your attorneys profile as well.
Here is a great breakdown: