Ernesto B. Lopez
- District 6
This Act adopts the Uniform Law Commission’s (“ULC”) Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (“Revised Uniform Law”). As our State continues to recover from COVID-19, chief among the changes in the Revised Uniform Law relevant to our State’s current situation are those that permit notarial acts to be performed for a remotely located individual, an individual who is not in the physical presence of the individual performing the notarial act. These revisions include recent amendments made by the ULC to respond to areas the law needed to address that were discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need to have tangible documents ink-signed and notarized and the administration of oaths taken by remotely located individuals. Adoption of this Act will expand on Governor Carney’s authorization for remote notarization to be performed by licensed Delaware attorneys, codified in § 3156 of Title 20, by allowing all notarial officers authority to perform remote notarization. In addition to retaining provisions that provide integrity in the process of performing notarial acts, the Revised Uniform Law does the following: (1) Provides the authority to notarize electronic documents on par with notarization of tangible documents, including authority for the Secretary of State to regulate notarization of electronic documents. (2) Requires a notary public to maintain a journal of all notarial acts the notary public performs. (3) Adopts new licensing procedures for notaries public, including minimum requirements for commissioning and grounds to deny, suspend, or revoke commissions. (4) Prohibits a notary public from acting in a deceptive or fraudulent manner. Current Delaware law on notarial acts is an adoption of the Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, approved by the Uniform Law Commission in 1982. This Act’s adoption of the Revised Uniform Law would bring Delaware law on notarial acts into conformity with at least 20 other states, including all of the states bordering Delaware (Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey), which currently allow remote notarization and notarization of electronic records and include the updated provisions that enhance the integrity of the process of performing notarial acts. This Act’s adoption of the Revised Uniform Law is delayed until January 1, 2023, to provide the Secretary of State and notaries public time to implement the Revised Uniform Law. In the interim, this Act continues the authority for Delaware attorneys to conduct remote notarization, codified in § 3156 of Title 20, until the Revised Uniform Law takes effect. Then, Delaware attorneys will be authorized to conduct remote notarization under the Revised Uniform Law, like attorneys in other states that have adopted the Revised Uniform Law.
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