RI Executive Order 09-08 Revisions | NNA
Law

RI Executive Order 09-08 Revisions

Notary Law Update: RI Executive Order 09-08 Revisions

State: Rhode Island

Summary:

Amendments to the Standards of Conduct for Notaries Public in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations effective November 18, 2009, include clarifications that a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly need not use an official seal when notarizing documents during open session on the floor of the Assembly, that a Rhode Island attorney need not keep an journal of notarial acts, that the Standards of Conduct do not impair or infringe upon the attorney-client privilege or attorney work product doctrine and that the certificates for notarial acts in the Standards are not intended to replace or supercede the existing forms used for the conveyance of real estate or in other legal documents, particularly those certificates approved by any committee of the Rhode Island Bar Association.

Signed:  November 18, 2009

Effective:  November 19, 2009

Chapter: N/A

Affects:

Adds a new Section 3(k) to and amends Sections 3(e) and (f) of the Standards of Conduct for Notaries Public in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

Changes:
  1. Clarifies that the provision of the Executive Order recommending that Notaries use an official seal when notarizing documents does not preclude a Notary who is a member of the General Assembly from notarizing a document without a seal on the floor of the General Assembly.
  2. Clarifies that while the journal is recommended as a best practice, an attorney at law is not required to keep a journal.
  3. Clarifies that the Standards of Conduct for Notaries shall not be construed to impair or infringe in any way the attorney-client privilege or attorney work produce doctrine.
  4. Clarifies that the certificates for notarial acts contained in the Standards of Conduct are not meant to replace or supercede any forms currently or commonly used in conveying real property or in other legal documents within Rhode Island, particularly those certificates approved by any committee of the Rhode Island Bar Association.
Analysis:

New amendments to the Standards of Conduct for Notaries Public in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations effective November 18, 2009, essentially carve out exceptions for two special groups of Notaries. By virtue of election as a member of the General Assembly, Rhode Island lawmakers possess notarial powers and they often perform notarial acts on documents on the floor of the General Assembly. One such document requiring notarization on the floor of the Assembly is a document signed by a legislator recusing him- or herself from voting on a measure. Evidently, in an attempt to keep the business of the Assembly moving at an acceptable pace, the exemption from use of a seal was sought. A second amendment clarifies that a Rhode Island Attorney is not required to keep a Notary journal. This particular exception is not new; the NNA has witnessed numerous cases where attorneys have been given or have sought an exception to a journal-keeping requirement (for example, in Massachusetts). Another amendment to the Standards clarifies that the Standards shall not impair or infringe in any way the attorney-client privilege or attorney work produce doctrine. In American civil procedure, the attorney-client privilege protects communications between an attorney and his or her client from discovery in litigation by opposing counsel. The work product doctrine similarly protects materials prepared in anticipation of litigation. Finally, a new Section 3(k) clarifies that existing certificates for notarial acts commonly used in Rhode Island for conveying property and in other legal situations, and in particular, those forms created by any committee of the Rhode Island Bar Association, may continue to be used. The change makes clear that the forms provided in the Standards of Conduct do not replace or supercede these certificates.

Read the text of the Executive Order.

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