Chapter 118, F.S. (Civil-Law Notary Statute)

Chapter 118


118.10 Civil-law notary.

118.12 Certification of civil-law notary’s authority;

118.10 Civil-law notary.—

(1) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Authentic act” means an instrument executed by a civil-law notary
referencing this section, which instrument includes the particulars and
capacities to act of any transacting parties, a confirmation of the full text of
any necessary instrument, the signatures or their legal equivalent of any
transacting parties, the signature and seal of a civil-law notary, and such
other information prescribed by the Secretary of State.

(b) “Civil-law notary” means a person who is a member in good standing of
The Florida Bar, who has practiced law for at least 5 years, and who is
appointed by the Secretary of State as a civil-law notary.

(c) “Protocol” means a registry maintained by a civil-law notary in which
the acts of the civil-law notary are archived.

(2) The Secretary of State shall have the power to appoint civil-law
notaries and administer this section.

(3) A civil-law notary is authorized to issue authentic acts and thereby may
authenticate or certify any document, transaction, event, condition, or
occurrence. The contents of an authentic act and matters incorporated therein
shall be presumed correct. A civil-law notary may also administer an oath and
make a certificate thereof when it is necessary for execution of any writing or
document to be attested, protested, or published under the seal of a notary
public. A civil-law notary may also take acknowledgments of deeds and other
instruments of writing for record, and solemnize the rites of matrimony, as
fully as other officers of this state. A civil-law notary is not authorized to
issue authentic acts for use in a jurisdiction if the United States Department
of State has determined that the jurisdiction does not have diplomatic relations
with the United States or is a terrorist country, or if trade with the
jurisdiction is prohibited under the Trading With the Enemy Act of 1917, as
amended, 50 U.S.C. ss. 1, et seq.

(4) The authentic acts, oaths and acknowledgments, and solemnizations of a
civil-law notary shall be recorded in the civil-law notary’s protocol in a
manner prescribed by the Secretary of State.

(5) The Secretary of State may adopt rules prescribing:

(a) The form and content of authentic acts, oaths, acknowledgments,
solemnizations, and signatures and seals or their legal equivalents;

(b) Procedures for the permanent archiving of authentic acts, maintaining
records of acknowledgments, oaths and solemnizations, and procedures for the
administration of oaths and taking of acknowledgments;

(c) The charging of reasonable fees to be retained by the Secretary of State
for the purpose of administering this chapter;

(d) Educational requirements and procedures for testing applicants’
knowledge of all matters relevant to the appointment, authority, duties or legal
or ethical responsibilities of a civil-law notary;

(e) Procedures for the disciplining of civil-law notaries, including, but
not limited to, the suspension and revocation of appointments for failure to
comply with the requirements of this chapter or the rules of the Department of
State, or for misrepresentation or fraud regarding the civil-law notary’s
authority, the effect of the civil-law notary’s authentic acts, or the
identities or acts of the parties to a transaction;

(f) Bonding or errors and omissions insurance requirements, or both, for
civil-law notaries; and

(g) Other matters necessary for administering this section.

(6) The Secretary of State shall not regulate, discipline, or attempt to
discipline any civil-law notary for, or with regard to, any action or conduct
that would constitute the practice of law in this state, except by agreement
with The Florida Bar. The Secretary of State shall not establish as a
prerequisite to the appointment of a civil-law notary any test containing any
question that inquires of the applicant’s knowledge regarding the practice of
law in the United States, unless such test is offered in conjunction with an
educational program approved by The Florida Bar for continuing legal education

(7) The powers of civil-law notaries include, but are not limited to, all of
the powers of a notary public under any law of this state.

(8) This section shall not be construed as abrogating the provisions of any
other act relating to notaries public, attorneys, or the practice of law in this


s. 7, ch. 97-241; s. 1, ch. 97-278; ss. 10, 20, ch. 98-246; s.
74, ch. 99-251.

118.12 Certification of civil-law notary’s authority;

If certification of a civil-law notary’s authority is necessary
for a particular document or transaction, it must be obtained from the Secretary
of State. Upon the receipt of a written request from a civil-law notary and the
fee prescribed by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State shall issue a
certification of the civil-law notary’s authority, in a form prescribed by the
Secretary of State, which shall include a statement explaining the legal
qualifications and authority of a civil-law notary in this state. The fee
prescribed for the issuance of the certification under this section or an
apostille under s. 15.16 may not exceed $10 per document. The Department of
State may adopt rules to implement this section.


s. 75, ch. 99-251.