What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a notary public in a commercial dispute?

A.  The reason to use the notary protest method is to gather credible, admissible evidence of dishonor for use in quickly resolving a dispute if or when litigated in court and usually where litigation is likely. The notary protest method requires you to involve a notary in your dispute as a third party witness and referee. There are advantages and disadvantages to doing this that you should be aware of.


A notary public is a “public officer” within the government, and as such, their official records are considered “public records” and are exempted from the Hearsay Rule, Federal Rule of Evidence 802.

Chapter 1 Introduction §1.1 Generally

A notary public (sometimes called a notary) is a public official appointed under authority of law with power, among other things, to administer oaths, certify affidavits, take acknowledgments, take depositions, perpetuate testimony, and protect negotiable instruments. Notaries are not appointed under federal law; they are appointed under the authority of the various states, districts, territories, as in the case of the Virgin Islands, and the commonwealth, in the case of Puerto Rico. The statutes, which define the powers and duties of a notary public, frequently grant the notary the authority to do all acts justified by commercial usage and the "law merchant".

Anderson's Manual for Notaries Public, Ninth Edition, 2001, ISBN 1-58360-357-3,

In most states, the records, logs, and registers of the notary public are automatically admissible as evidence in any state court by statute. Below is an example:

North Dakota Century Code
§ 44-06-08. Record of notices-certified copy-competent evidence.

Each notary public shall keep a record of all notices, of the time and manner in which the same were served, the names of all the persons to whom the same were directed, and the description and amount of the instrument protested. Such record, or a copy thereof, certified by the notary under seal, at all times shall be competent evidence to prove such notice in any court of this state.

In any commercial dispute between persons, interested adversarial parties make less credible witnesses than neutral third party witnesses or referees. You are therefore less likely to get your evidence admitted in a court of law if it originates from you rather than a third party such as a notary.
Notarized original documents are admissible in court often without foundational testimony. This means the notary who certified your document need not be alive or available to testify if you need to litigate the dispute years later.

The notary protest method helps reduce the work of the judge and results in all the facts and law subject to argument to be stipulated by action or omission before the litigation even begins. You will buy a lot of credibility with the judge by showing that you did everything within your power to resolve your own disputes and stay focused on avoiding litigation at every opportunity. This may cause him to prejudice the outcome in your favor and against your opponent.

Evidence from the notary public is difficult for the judge to keep out of evidence, even if prejudicial to the government.
The output of the notary protest method places your opponent into a position of laches and estoppel, and amounts to the equivalent of a nihil dicit judgment against him that may quickly be reduced to judgment with a simply summary judgment motion rather than a full trial. This has the desired effect of minimizing litigation effort and expense and quickly reducing the controversy to a judgment against your opponent.


Many notaries do not even know what a notary protest is. You may have to educate them about the process and their legal authority to participate in it using the materials in section 7 later.

It may be difficult to locate a notary public who is willing to do it for you in your area.

The notary protest process is less convenient, more time consuming, and more expensive than the alternatives 
described in the next section.

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