New York eases notarization requirements in civil cases

October 26, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed a bill to ease notarization requirements in civil cases.
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A newly-enacted law in New York State removes the requirement for notarization of affidavits and sworn documents in civil cases, a change heralded as a significant advancement for access to justice, the New York State Bar Association said.

“This law is a big step forward for access to justice,” said Richard Lewis, president of the NYSBA. “The notarization requirement was a big impediment in civil litigation, particularly for unrepresented parties in rural areas of the state where finding a notary is difficult. We commend Gov. Kathy Hochul for signing the bill.”

The legislation received a letter of support from Lewis and was sent to Gov. Kathy Hochul on July 31. In the letter, Lewis articulated that the prior notarization requirement posed an “undue burden” on litigants, exacerbated by the complications of the pandemic era.

Governor Hochul signed the bill into law, a move commended by legal professionals and advocates.

The association also cited progress on other legislative fronts during the 2023 session. Key initiatives awaiting gubernatorial review include eliminating the requirement for out-of-state attorneys to maintain a New York office, passing the Equal Rights Amendment and sealing the records of some New Yorkers convicted of specific felonies.

Moreover, the association has been active in litigation. In November 2022, it sued New York State to compel an increase in compensation rates for Attorneys for Children and 18b attorneys to $158 per hour — a rate that hasn’t been updated in 20 years. The lawsuit is ongoing in New York State Supreme Court.


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