Florida Notary Public Updates
Swearing in Witnesses for Administrative Hearings
Did you know that Florida Notaries are able to swear in witnesses for Administrative Hearings? Under the “Uniform Rules of Procedure” information of the Florida Administrative Procedures Act, Chapter 120, Florida Statutes, a notary public is able to assist with administering an oath and confirming the identity of a witness for testimonies taken by telephone.
(5) (b) For any testimony taken by telephone, a notary public must be physically present with the witness to administer the oath. The notary public shall provide a written certification to be filed with the presiding officer confirming the identity of the witness, and confirming the affirmation or oath by the witness. It shall be the responsibility of the party calling the witness to secure the services of a notary public.
When swearing in a witness for said testimony, you must use an oath or affirmation as stated below.
Section 90.605, Florida Statutes (2013)
Oath or affirmation of witness –
(1) Before testifying, each witness shall declare that he or she will testify truthfully, by taking an oath or affirmation in substantially the following form: “Do you swear or affirm that the evidence you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
Other practical tips (this is not legal advice) for a notary who may be swearing in a party for the purposes of an administrative hearing are:
(1) Always have your notary number, including the expiration date with you in the event that an Administrative Law Judge requests the information
(2) Always make sure the witness has identification if they are not personally known to you
(3) Administer the oath in substantial compliance with the statute… sometimes a notary might say “testimony” rather than “evidence.”
(4) Often times the notary is relinquished after the parties are sworn in at the hearing. But, it is generally a good idea to confirm with the judge, hearing officer or attorney that you are released from the hearing.
We hope these tips are helpful to you and your notary business. If you ever have questions regarding the administrative hearing process as it pertains to a notary, please contact our friendly customer service team. To learn more about Florida notary statutes, you may want to purchase a Florida Notary Handbook.