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Louisiana's Civil-Law Notaries

43 Southern University Law Review 93 (2016)

30 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2015 Last revised: 9 Feb 2016

Gail S. Stephenson

Southern University Law Center

Date Written: November 4, 2015

Abstract

Louisiana grants expansive powers to non-attorney civil-law notaries public to perform acts considered the practice of law in other jurisdictions, such as receiving a will and selling and mortgaging real estate. Unlike civil-law jurisdictions such as Quebec and Puerto Rico where only attorneys can be notaries, Louisiana commissions notaries with only a high-school education if they can pass a rigorous examination. This article examines the history of Louisiana’s civil-law notaries; their qualifications and functions; the fine line between “notarial advice” and the unauthorized practice of law; the sanctions that can be imposed on notaries who abuse the privileges of their office, including those who engage in unauthorized legal practice; and proposed legislation to enlarge potential actions that can be brought against unauthorized legal practitioners. The article recommends mandating continuing notarial education, requiring a higher bond or higher insurance limits, and raising the educational requirements for prospective notaries.

Keywords: notary public, notaire, notario, Louisiana, civil law

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K20, K30

Suggested Citation

Stephenson, Gail S., Louisiana's Civil-Law Notaries (November 4, 2015). 43 Southern University Law Review 93 (2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2686325

Gail S. Stephenson (Contact Author)

Southern University Law Center ( email )

P.O. Box 9294
Baton Rouge, LA 70813
United States

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