Civil-law notaries in Alabama and Florida

One factoid I picked up from Barbara Müller-Grant at the seminar on Saturday was that there are now civil-law notaries in Florida – and apparently in Alabama too. Web searches reveal a fair amount of information. These people are trained lawyers who do a course giving 18 hours, for example, of credits for CLE (continuing legal education – Weiterbildung). I think the first exam was held in March 2003.

They can help residents buy and sell land abroad – for instance, in Germany or in Brazil.

The National Association of Civil Law Notaries was founded in 1998. The site gives links to materials in English and German (and French and Spanish). Its links inside the USA also include Louisiana. Its links outside the USA

The Louisiana law refers to notaries public. But the new civil-law notaries in Alabama and Florida don’t use the word ‘public’.

The Louisiana code extract is in English. The Alabama extract appears in English, French and Spanish. But the Florida version appears in Spanish, French and German. The translations are interesting, in view of the fact that we sometimes have to translate German notarial boilerplate into English.

Unlike ‘notary public’, the term ‘civil-law notary’ is permitted to be translated into other languages. See also Wikipedia on this.Here is a site where you can order a rubber stamp for a Florida civil-law notary. It bears the words ‘International notary’.

Here is part of the translation into German of Florida Chapter 118 on international notaries.

bq. 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.

bq. 118.10 Notar (Civil-law Notary)
(1) Definitionen dieses Abschnitts:
(a) “Beurkundung” meint eine notarielle Urkunde, die von einem Notar entsprechend dieses Abschnitts ausgestellt wird und folgende Einzelheiten umfasst:Personalien und Funktionen der beteiligten Parteien, der vollständige Text sämtlicher Dokumente, die Unterschriften der beteiligten Parteien oder sonstige zulässige Alternativen, die Unterschrift und das Siegel des Notars sowie sonstige Angaben, die vom “Secretary of State” vorgeschrieben sind.
(b) “Notar” meint eine Person, die ein hochangesehenes Mitglied der “Florida Bar” (Anwaltskammer in Florida) und seit mindestens 5 Jahren als Jurist tätig ist
sowie von dem “Secretary of State” als Notar ernannt wurde.

3 thoughts on “Civil-law notaries in Alabama and Florida

  1. Looking at the translation I noticed (apart from the over-literal “meint” which I don’t like but which doesn’t affect the meaning) the “good standing”, something I’ve been wondering about before. Is “good standing” something that can be verified? Could you be asked to prove your “good standing” and how would you do that? If not, the standard dictionary translation “angesehen” (maybe without the “hoch”) is perfectly ok. If it implies the absence of any negative record, something like “unbescholten” would probably be more exact.

  2. I agree the translation is very peculiar. In fact, I even printed out the text to see if I could improve it myself, but I actually have to translate. I haven’t checked the ‘good standing’, but IMO ‘unbescholten’ is absolutely right! And as someone who likes to preserve the genitive, I don’t think ‘entsprechend’ takes it, but dative. I am not sure that capacities to act = Funktionen, but maybe it will do. I think some of the vocabulary is a bit shaky. I am not sure about the omission of ‘confirmation’, and finally, since when is ‘practicing law ‘ (U.S. spelling) ‘als Jurist tätig sein’? It should be ‘Anwalt’.

  3. I agree with all your points. “Funktionen” is a bit vague, “Eigenschaft, in der sie auftreten” might be better. “Ensprechend” takes the dative, “confirmation” should not be omitted (Bestätigung – as in “bestätigte Übersetzung” ;-)) and “als Anwalt tätig”, of course.

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