What Can a Civil Law Notary Do?

In the state of Florida, there are two positions that have the power to attest to the validity of signatures on legal documents: a notary public and civil law notary. Notaries public are U.S. citizens (18 or older) who have a clean criminal record and complete a three-hour course with the state. Upon passing, one may be a notary public for one or more four-year terms. While a notary public is certainly useful in many situations, a Florida civil law notary has the same powers and duties as a notary public with broader powers and an authority that is, overall, less-regulated. 

Who Can Be a Civil Law Notary?

One must be a member, in good standing, of the Florida Bar for at least five years. Additionally, a civil law notary must have practiced international law during this time span. Civil law notaries, who are appointed by the Florida Department of State for life, undergo training similar to that of an attorney. 

One major difference between a civil law notary and notary public is that a civil law notary can attest to the legal validity of the documents being signed; notaries public are only responsible for the validity of the parties’ signatures. 

What Documents Can a Civil Law Notary Assist With?

There are numerous legal documents that are commonly dealt with by a Florida civil law notary, including:

  • Power-of-attorney documents
  • Business contracts
  • Pensions for Florida residents receiving benefits originating from foreign jurisdictions
  • Real-estate deeds going to or coming from another country

Civil law notaries (and notaries public) in Florida are also authorized to perform wedding ceremonies within the state, while civil law notaries may perform weddings on the “High Seas.” Additionally, civil law notaries can testify in court on the legal validity of certain documents from foreign jurisdictions. One interesting authority granted to civil law notaries is attesting to the completion of world records as accepted by the Guinness World Records. 

A recent check by The Florida Bar discovered that many individuals who are not, in fact, civil law notaries list that as a service in their online profiles. Attorney Ray Garcia is actually an appointed civil law notary, recognized as such by the Florida Secretary of State’s office. 


When you need efficient legal services regarding a relatively simple legal document, it often makes sense to go to a Florida civil law notary. Not only can a civil law notary witness the signing of the document, he or she can also attest to the validity of the document. Civil law notaries can also attest to certain documents coming from foreign jurisdictions. 

For almost any legal need, the Law Office of Ray Garcia, P.A. is ready to provide you with professional service. Call us today at 305-227-4030 to get started.

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