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Legal Case

IN Supreme Court Order (2020)

Notary Law Update: IN Supreme Court Order (2020)

State: Indiana

Summary:
The Indiana Supreme Court temporarily authorizes Indiana Notaries Public and other oath administering officials in Indiana to swear a witness remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Signed:  March 31, 2020

Effective:  March 31, 2020

Chapter: N/A

Affects:
All Indiana Notaries Public and officials authorized to administer oaths.Changes:
  1. Authorizes Notaries and other persons qualified to administer an oath in the State of Indiana to swear a witness remotely by audio-video communication technology, provided they can positively identify the witness.
  2. Clarifies that all rules of procedure, court orders, and opinions applicable to remote testimony, depositions, and other legal testimony, that can be read to limit or prohibit the use of audio-video communications equipment to administer oaths remotely, are suspended, and will remain suspended until removed by further order of the Court.
Analysis:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many state governors are issuing executive orders temporarily authorizing Notaries to perform remote notarial acts. Fewer are issuing court orders allowing witnesses to be sworn remotely in matters that affect the court. Florida is one state that has done this, and Indiana now also is permitting it. Citing the Supreme Court's opinion in Supreme Court Case No. 20S-MS-236, the court said: "It is the intent of this order to suspend any actual or implied requirement that notaries, court reporters, and other persons qualified to administer an oath in the State of Indiana, must be in the presence of a witnessfor purposes of administering an oath for depositions and other legal testimony, so long as the notary or other qualified person can both see and hear the witness via audio-video communications equipment for purposes of readily identifying the witness." Indiana will soon permit its Notaries to use remote online notarization, but this action by the Supreme Court is a small step towards allowing that goal.

Read the court opinion.

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