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New York Eliminates Notarization Requirement for Civil Proceedings

photo of the word notary public spelled out in individual scrabble tiles with a gavel behind and a silver pen in front.

Earlier this month, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed two bills into law that amend Rule 2106 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR). The amendments, which will go into effect at the beginning of 2024, allow for unsworn affirmations to be submitted in lieu of notarized affidavits in civil proceedings, including personal injury suits.

An affirmation is a declaration, signed and submitted, swearing that the documents and information included with it are nothing but the truth. In past years, information, documents, and even affirmations that people were looking to submit to the court in civil proceedings needed to be accompanied by an affidavit signed in the presence of a “notary public.” Many advocates decried the notarization requirement as they felt it made it more difficult for aggrieved parties to submit documents and testimony to the courts. For example, opponents of the law pointed out that there are less notaries located in rural areas making it harder for people in such areas to submit notarized documents to the court. Consequently, the New York State Legislature and Governor passed and signed bills amending the notary requirement.

Signed by the Governor in Fall 2023, Bill A5772/S5162 allows an affirmation by any person, wherever made, subscribed and affirmed by that person to be true under the penalties of perjury, to be used in a civil action in New York in lieu of and with the same force and effect as a notarized affidavit. This applies to affirmations made by parties, non-parties, attorneys, and witnesses. In other words, the amendments essentially do away with the notary requirement for documents submitted to the court.