NJ Assembly Bill 1423 | NNA
Law

NJ Assembly Bill 1423

Notary Law Update: NJ Assembly Bill 1423

State: New Jersey

Summary:

Assembly Bill 1423 is the latest legislation enacted to address the confusion unscrupulous Notaries cause an unwary immigrant public by falsely representing that they can provide immigration-related services that only licensed attorneys can offer. 

Signed:  September 10, 2014

Effective:  December 08, 2014

Chapter: 48

Affects:

Amends Sections 2C:21-22, 2C:21-31, 52:7-11, 52:7-13, 52:7-14, 52:7-18, 52:7-19 and 52:7-21 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated

Changes:
  1. Clarifies that a person who knowingly engages in the unauthorized practice of law and creates or reinforces by any means a false impression that that a person is licensed to engage in the practice of law, including but not limited to using or advertising the title of lawyer or attorney-at-law, or equivalent terms, in English or any other language, which mean or imply that the person is licensed as an attorney-at-law in New Jersey or in any other jurisdiction of the United States, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
  2. Clarifies that an immigration consultant not licensed as an attorney or counselor at law who uses or advertises the title of lawyer or attorney-at-law to mean or imply that the immigration consultant is licensed as an attorney in New Jersey or in any other jurisdiction of the United States, is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
  3. Requires persons applying to become a Notary to be given a notice on the application for a Notary commission and after he or she takes the oath of office from the county clerk stating that a Notary who is not licensed as an attorney-at-law shall not use or advertise the title of lawyer or attorney-at-law, or equivalent terms, in the English language or any other language, which mean or imply that the notary public is licensed as an attorney-at-law in the State of New Jersey or in any other jurisdiction of the United States; and further requires the application form and notice provided by the county clerk to state that a Notary who advertises services in English or another language must provide a disclaimer in the advertisement which states that the Notary is “not an attorney licensed to practice law and may not give legal advice about immigration or any other legal matter or accept fees for legal advice.”
  4. Clarifies that for the purposes of disqualifying a person for the office of Notary Public, a violation in another state or of the United States of an offense or crime involving dishonesty includes but is not limited to a violation of NJSA 2C:21-31 (unauthorized practice of immigration law) or of NJSA 2.C:21-22 (unauthorized practice of law).
  5. Requires the notice, advertising disclaimer requirement and disqualification for a violation of an offense involving dishonesty specified in the new law to be included in the New Jersey Notary Public Manual and requires the State Treasurer to update the Manual and website with the information as appropriate.
  6. Makes technical changes clarifying that the State Treasurer has jurisdiction over Notaries Public in New Jersey, not the Secretary of State.
Analysis:

Assembly Bill 1423 is the latest legislation enacted to address the confusion unscrupulous Notaries cause an unwary immigrant public by falsely representing that they can provide immigration-related services that only licensed attorneys can offer. AB 1423 is intended to enhance the provisions of a recently enacted 2011 law which upgraded the offense of engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.  The disclaimer required to be included in English and non-English advertisements is designed to avoid any confusion among immigrants from countries where a Notary has considerably greater credentials and authority than Notaries in New Jersey. Persons applying for a commission will receive a notice warning them against misrepresenting their authority as New Jersey Notaries and requiring them to post a prescribed notice in any advertisement offering Notary services at two key points in the commissioning process: on the Notary Public application and again when they appear before a county clerk to take the oath of office. The notice and advertising disclaimer will also be written into the state’s Notary Public Manual. AB 1423 also makes technical changes to the law correcting references to the Secretary of State as having jurisdiction over New Jersey Notaries. In 1998, jurisdiction over Notaries was transferred from the Secretary of State to the State Treasurer.

Read the bill text.

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