What is a Florida Civil-Law Notary?

To understand the function of a Florida Civil-Law Notary, it is necessary to understand the differences between the legal systems in the United States and other countries. The Florida Civil-Law Notary bridges the gap between different legal systems.

Common Law vs. Civil Law

Florida is a Common Law Jurisdiction, following in the tradition of England’s legal system throughout the American Colonies. However, many countries outside of the United States are Civil Law Jurisdictions that operate legal systems that are fundamentally different from the Common Law system in many important ways. Civil Law Jurisdictions are found as close to Florida as Mexico, Puerto Rico and Quebec. Civil Law Jurisdictions are predominant in South America, Europe, Asia and western Africa. Among the many Civil Law Jurisdictions worldwide are Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain and Venezuela.

Role of the Notary

In a Civil Law Jurisdiction, the Notary is a legal professional who plays an important role in handling non-adversarial transactions. Often referred to as a Latin Notary, the Notary is a trusted legal adviser, whose duty it is to see to the proper documentation of a transaction. The Latin Notary does not represent any single party to a transaction. Instead, the Notary’s duty is to the transaction itself. As “Counsel to the Transaction” the Notary ensures all parties that the transaction is properly documented for all participants. Latin Notaries are the primary professionals who handle Real Estate Transactions, Wills & Probate, and other non-litigation legal services.

A Powerful & Respected Office

The Latin, Civil Law Notary is an important office with significant responsibility. In Civil Law Countries, the Notary is a distinct legal profession, known by a separate title from that of an attorney or lawyer, such as

  • Notaire, in Quebec and France
  • Notario, in Spain
  • Notar, in Germany
  • Notaio, in Italy
  • Notario Publico, in Mexico
  • Notario (Escribano), in Argentina

Civil Law Notaries are respected professionals, formally educated in law to give guidance and counsel, and regulated by government authority in their exercise of the publica fides – the power of the state to authenticate acts and documents.

The Florida Civil-Law Notary

There is no single counterpart of the Latin Notary in a Common Law Jurisdiction. As a result, parties to international or foreign transactions often struggle to secure a suitable legal professional to fill the role of a Latin Notary when Florida Residents, Florida Businesses or Florida Assets are involved. The Florida Civil-Law Notary fills this vacuum.

A Florida Civil-Law Notary serves many functions and uses in helping to complete international and foreign transactions.

If your international or foreign transaction involves Florida Residents, Businesses or Assets, you may benefit from the services of a Florida Civil-Law Notary. Contact us to learn more.