Public Notice

Public Notice in the United States

Public Notice Definition

Notice given to the public generally, as by advertisement or posting, and not to some particular individual.

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A public notice is a legally required announcement informing citizens about government or government-related activities that may affect citizens’ everyday lives. Most of these activities involve the application of governmental authority to a private event, such as a mortgage foreclosure or probate filing, and notices also can include listings for fictitious business names, limited liability companies and other entities, notifications of unclaimed property, governmental hearings and trustee sales.

Every jurisdiction in the United States has laws that regulate the manner in which public notices are published. Statutes specify wording, frequency of publication and other unusual characteristics that may vary according to jurisdiction and make the publication of public notices more complex than traditional advertising. These laws are designed to ensure that the public receives important information about the actions of its government from a
newspaper that is accessible and already a trusted source of community information. Currently, local newspapers generally are the medium that is used to satisfy laws regulating the process of notifying the public. The extensive qualification requirements for publishing public notices serve as barriers to entry to new and existing publications that desire to carry public notices.

Public notices are legal notices required by federal, state or local law to be published in qualified publications. A publication must typically satisfy several legal requirements in order to provide public notices. In general, a publication must possess a difficult-to-obtain U.S. Postal Service periodical permit, be of general and paid circulation within the relevant jurisdiction, include news content, and have been established and regularly and
uninterruptedly published for one to five years immediately preceding the first publication of a public notice. Some jurisdictions also require that a public notice business be adjudicated by a governmental body.

Among the many different type of public notices in the newspapers are foreclosure notices, trustee and sheriffs’ sale notices, unclaimed property notices, probate notices, notices of fictitious business names, limited liability company and other entity notices, election notices, bond issuances, zoning notices, notices of governmental hearings and bid solicitation and awards and governmental budget notices.

Change in the Laws governing Public Notices Requirements

In various U.S. states, legislatures have considered proposals that would eliminate or reduce the number of public notices required by statute. In addition, some state legislatures have proposed that state and local governments publish official government notices themselves online. The impetus for the passage of such laws may increase as online alternatives to print sources of information become more generally accepted. Some states have also proposed,
enacted or interpreted laws to alter the frequency with which public notices are required to be published, reduce the amount of information required to be disclosed in public notices or change the requirements for publications to be eligible to publish public notices. In addition, new or increased government regulation of residential mortgage defaults may result in fewer or delayed foreclosures and, therefore, the publication of fewer related public notices or a delay in the publication of related public notices. Further, state legislation changing the public notices required to be published in print or that adversely change the eligibility requirements for publishing public notices in such states.

Public Notice in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

For starting research in the law of a foreign country:

Link Description
Public Notice Public Notice in the World Legal Encyclopedia.
Public Notice Public Notice in the European Legal Encyclopedia.
Public Notice Public Notice in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
Public Notice Public Notice in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.
Public Notice Public Notice in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

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Public Notice: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Public Notice. This part provides references, in relation to Public Notice, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Public Notice by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Public Notice and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Public Notice or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Public Notice and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Public Notice. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Public Notice should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Public Notice when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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