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Notary Services Glossary beginning with C

Brosgall Legal's glossary covers useful Apostille and Notary Public terms.
Click one of the letters above to advance the page to terms beginning with that letter.

An abbreviation of 'corporate seal', or 'company seal'. When an authorized signatory of a corporation signs a document on behalf of that corporation, the initials C/S indicates where the seal is to be impressed onto the document. See also L.S. 


calligraphus (pl. calligraphi) was an ancient copyist or scrivener, who transcribed correctly and in its entirety what the notaries had taken down in notes.

The minutes of acts, etc., were always taken down in a kind of cipher, or shorthand, so that the Notaries, as the Romans called them, or the Simeiografoi and Tahygrafoi, as the Greeks called them, could keep pace with a speaker or person who dictated. These notes, understood by few, were copied exactly by literate people with good handwriting; they were called calligraphi, a name often found in ancient writings.


The deponent must be able to understand the contents of the document they are executing, appreciate the significance of making the affidavit or statutory declaration, and be executing it of their own free will, without intimidation or duress. If an apparent lack of understanding is due to a language barrier, the deponent may still swear an affidavit or statutory declaration with the assistance of an interpreter. There is also a mechanism to assist people who are visually impaired or illiterate. Different forms of jurats apply in these situations. If a notary believes that a person lacks capacity, they must refuse to act.


A written notarial statement signed by a notary public that is attached to or included in a document describing acts performed in an official capacity. The notary public will attach the notarial certificate to the primary documentation. An acknowledgment, jurat, or copy certification are examples of different notarial certificates.

Certificate of Acknowledgment

An acknowledgment is a formal declaration before an authorized public officer. It is made by a person executing or signing an instrument who states that it was their free act and deed.  That is, the person signed it without undue influence and for the purposes detailed in it.  A certificate of acknowledgment is a written statement signed (and in some jurisdictions, sealed) by a notary or other authorized official that serves to prove that the acknowledgment occurred. The form of the certificate varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but will be similar to the following:

"Before me, the undersigned authority, on this ______ day of ___________, 20__ personally appeared _________________________, to me well known to be the person who executed the foregoing instrument, and he/she acknowledged before me that he/she executed the same as his/her voluntary act and deed."

Certificate of Identity (Form 10 - Society of Notaries of B.C.)

For Authentication and Legalization, the Society of Notaries of B.C. requires regular Notaries to prepare a Form 10 (International Certificate of Identity). The notary prepares the Certificate of Identity, attaches any required documents, and sends the package to the Society of Notaries. The Society of Notaries authenticates the Notary's signature. The completed Form 10 and the attached documents are then forwarded to the appropriate provincial agency for secondary authentication, and then to the foreign Consulate in Vancouver for legalization. The Form 10 is an extra step that regular notaries must undertake, and this takes more time. However, at Brosgall Legal, because Mr. Brosgall is a both a notary and a lawyer, he is able to deal directly with the provincial agency. Mr. Brosgall's dual qualification makes the authentication and legalization process faster, more reliable, and less complicated.

Certified Copy

It is often necessary to make copies of documents to use instead of the original.  A lawyer or notary can photocopy a document and certify that is a true copy of the original by applying their stamp, seal and signature on the copy.  The lawyer or notary must see the original before they can certify the copy.  However, once this is done properly, the copy can be presented to third parties as a true, genuine and authentic copy of the original document. If you are interested in more information about certified copies, please see our article Certified Copy by Vancouver Notary.

Examples of documents that we can certify true copies of include:

assignments of intellectual property
birth certificates
change of name documents
citizenship cards
college and university transcripts
contracts and commercial agreements
copyright registrations
corporate documents
death certificates
driver's licences
marriage certificates
miscellaneous identity documents
permanent resident cards
police record checks / clearance letters
professional certificates
trade-mark registrations

Certified Translations

A translation completed by professional translator, fluent in the two languages being translated. Certification by the Society of Translators and Interpreters of British Columbia is typically required. Many tranlators take the Vancouver Community College Court Interpreter Program to become accredited as a Court Interpreter by the Ministry of Attorney General of British Columbia.

  • According to the Society of Translators and Interpreters of British Columbia, the varoius certifications are:   
  • Certified Translator (C.T.) 
  • Certified Court Interpreter (C. Crt.) 
  • Certified Conference Interpreter (C.C.I) 
  • Certified Terminologist (C. Term)

Certification Process

Translators may qualify for certification by 2 methods:

  1. by passing a written examination in their languages of proficiency (the examination is administered and adjudicated on a national basis by CTTIC);
  2. by the "On Dossier" process.

Court Interpreters are certified on the basis of written and practical examinations administered by CTTIC, as well as by the "On Dossier" process. 

Conference Interpreters are certified on the basis of a practical examination administered by CTTIC, as well as by the "On Dossier" process.

The Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council (CTTIC) was founded in 1970 and is the legal successor of the Society of Translators and Interpreters of Canada (STIC), which had been incorporated in 1956. It is now a federation of seven provincial and territorial bodies, one of which, the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO) is a founding member, along with the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interpretes agrees du Quebec (OTTIAQ).


chancery is the type of building that houses a diplomatic mission or an embassy. The building can house one or several different nations' missions. The term derives from chancery or chancellery, the office of a Chancellor.

Some nations title the head of foreign affairs a Chancellor, and so the main building of an embassy is sometimes called the chancery. The ambassador's quarters are generally referred to as the Residence.


The office where the chief of mission and his or her staff work. This office is often called the embassy but this is a misnomer. Technically, the embassy is where the ambassador lives, not where he or she works, although in earlier times when diplomatic missions were smaller, this was usually the same building. Today, for clarity's sake, many diplomats now distinguish between the two by using the terms "embassy residence" and "embassy office".

Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.

Formerly, a charge d'affaires was the title of a chief of mission, inferior in rank to an ambassador or a minister. Today with the a.i. (ad interim) added, it designates the senior officer taking charge for the interval when a chief of mission is absent from his post.

Chief of Mission

The ranking officer in an embassy, permanent mission, legation, consulate general or consulate (i.e. an ambassador always, and a minister, consul general, or consul when no more senior officer is assigned to the post). A "chief of mission" can also be the head of a special and temporary diplomatic mission, but the term is usually reserved for the earlier listed examples.


The term 'chop' originated from the Hindi word 'chapa' and the Malay word 'cap', both words mean 'stamp'. A chop is used by companies and notaries.

Today, the terms 'seal', 'stamp' and 'chop' are basically interchangeable and refer to the same thing: a stamp or embossed seal.

The term chop is rarely used in Canada, but is sometimes referenced in the United States and China.


Citizenship and Immigraton Canada


A document that modifies the terms of a will.  A supplement or addendum to a will.


Documents must always be signed voluntarily (see Free Act and Deed). Coersion occurs when someone feels they must do something (such as sign a document) when they do not want to do so. 


In the Notary context, a 'commission' describes when a person becomes appointed a notary. The word 'commission' also describes the certificate issued by a governing body or agency verifying appointment as a notary public and authorizing the notary public to perform the official acts of that office. 

Some commissions must be renewed periodically, and some are permanent. Brosgall Legal holds a permanent commission.


The act of a Commissioner of Oaths when they swear, notarize, or certify a document.

Commissioner of Oaths

Due to their employment or office, the B.C. Evidence Act - Section 60 makes certain people Commissioners of Oaths. Section 59 grants Commissioners of Oaths the power to administer oaths and take affidavits, declarations and affirmations concerning proceedings before the Supreme Court of B.C., or any other court in British Columbia,and any matter in connection with which an oath, affidavit, affirmation, solemn declaration or statutory declaration is permitted, authorized or required by law to be sworn, affirmed, declared or made. A commissioner of oaths (typically a notary or lawyer) certifies that a deponent has sworn, declared or affirmed that the contents of a document is true.

the following is a list of the people who can act as a commissioner of oaths for swearing affidavits inside BC for use in BC courts:

  • a notary public (as defined in Sections 1 and 18 of the B.C. Notaries Act);
  • a practicing lawyer (as defined in Section 1(1) of the B.C. Legal Profession Act);
  • a Supreme Court registrar, deputy registrar, district registrar, and deputy district registrar;
  • a government agent or deputy government agent;
  • a judge of a court in BC;
  • a justice;
  • the local government corporate officer and that person's deputy;
  • the secretary treasurer of a board of school trustees;
  • the chief executive officer of a francophone education authority (as defined in the School Act);
  • a coroner;
  • any commissioned officer in the Canadian Navy, Army, or Air Force who is on active service (in and out of Canada);
  • all agents general for British Columbia; or
  • any other individual specifically appointed by the Attorney General as commissioners for taking Affidavits for BC.

The following is a list of the people who can act as commissioners of oaths for swearing affidavits outside BC for use in BC courts:

  • a magistrate or an officer of a court of justice, a judge, or a commissioner authorized to administer oaths in the courts of justice of that province or country;
  • the mayor or chief magistrate of any city, borough, or town corporate, certified under the seal of the city, borough, or town corporate;
  • an officer of any of Her Majesty's diplomatic or consular services exercising the officer's functions in any country other than Canada, including an ambassador, envoy, minister, charge d'affaires, counsellor, secretary, attache, consul general, consul, vice consul, proconsul, consular agent, acting consul general, acting consul, acting vice consul, and acting consular agent;
  • an officer of the Canadian diplomatic and consular service exercising the officer's functions in any country other than Canada, including a high commissioner, permanent delegate, acting high commissioner, acting permanent delegate, counsellor, and secretary;
  • a Canadian government trade commissioner or an assistant Canadian government trade commissioner exercising his or her functions in any country other than Canada;
  • a notary public acting in the territorial limits of the notary's authority, certified under the notary's hand and official seal;
  • any commissioned officer in the Canadian Navy, Army, or Air Force who is on active service (inside or outside Canada);
  • all agents general for British Columbia; or
  • a commissioner authorized by the laws of British Columbia to take Affidavits.
Comparison Method (Certified Copies)

When we make certified copies of a document, we typically take a photocopy of your documents while you wait. However, certain situations make this difficult. For example, framed certificates and diplomas cannot always be removed from the frame without causing some damage. So, you may take a photograph of the framed certificate, print it off, and bring it into our office. You will also have to bring in the original framed certificate so we can compare the original to the photograph. Another situation is if you want a colour photocopy to be certified as a true copy. If you get the colour photocopy done yourself and bring it into our office, along with the original document, we will compare the original to the colour photocopy. In both these instances, rather than taking the photocopy/photograph ourselves, we do a comparison of what you bring into our office. This is known as the comparison method, and it is permitted.


The ability to understand.  A notary should be comfortable that all parties understand what they are signing or affirming.

Conformed Copy

When carbon copies are made from original documents, a notary is sometimes asked to conform, rather than notarize, the copies. To conform a copy, the notary must reaffix his or her official seal on the copy (as carbon usually does not easily transfer a seal impression) and write 'Conformed Copy' prominently across the copy.


Consanguinity ('blood relation', from the Latin consanguinitas) refers to the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that respect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person. The laws of many jurisdictions set out degrees of consanguinity to determine when a given person inherits property when a deceased person has not left a will. 

In estate adminstration, 'consanguinity' is used to determine succession rights for intestate decedents as per the Estate Administration Act.

Please see 'Order of Precedence'.

Consent Letter

Please see 'Consent To Travel', or for further detail, read the article we wrote on Consent to Travel for Minors.

Consent To Travel

A solemn declaration is sometimes required when a minor child is travelling overseas without both parents, alone, or with a third party.  Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada strongly recommends that children travelling abroad carry a consent letter from every person with the legal right to make major decisions on their behalf, if that person is not accompanying the children on the trip. For example, children travelling alone, with groups, or with only one of their custodial parents should travel with a consent letter.  The consent to travel declaration indicates who the child will be travelling with, where they are going, and the basic itinerary.  Confirmation is provided that the declarant gives the guardian full permission to take temporary custody of the child, giving them full responsibility for the child's social, medical, and economic welfare while travelling.  The declaration includes information such as the name of the parent giving consent, occupation, address and telephone number.  Also included is the name of the person travelling with the child, their relationship, occupation, address and passport number.  Finally, the child's name, gender, date of birth and passport number is noted. 

A consent letter may facilitate entry of a Canadian child into another country. However, carrying a consent letter does not always guarantee entry, as permission to enter another country is entirely the decision of that country. In addition to a consent letter, there may be other country-specific entry requirements. To ensure you have the most up-to-date information, you should contact the local Vancouver consular office of the country to be visited by your child. For current contact information, try either the Foreign Affairs and International Trade list of Vancouver consular offices, or the B.C. Consular Corps directory for Vancouver consular offices. If you are interested in more information about Consent to Travel (Minor Child's Authorization), please see our article on consent to travel for minors.


A consul is the head of a consulate. There are four different types of consuls: Consul-General, Consul, Vice-Consul and Consular Agent.

Consular Agent

An official doing consular work for a nation in a locality where it does not maintain a regular consulate. This official is usually a national of his host state, and his work is usually part-time.

Consular Corps

The Consular Corps, also referred to as Corps Consulaire, is the body of foreign heads of consular missions residing in the receiving country. The Corps may comprise honorary as well as career consuls.


A consulate is a type of foreign representation that one country establishes in another country. Unlike an embassy, the consulate is not assigned any intergovernmental diplomatic powers. Its primary function is to promote trade and investment, and in many cases a consulate also issues passports and visas. There are four different types of consulates: Consulate-General, Consulate, Vice-Consulate and Consular Agency. The juridisction of the individual consulate may vary, but the consulates rank as shown above.


An office established by one state in an important city of another state for the purpose of supporting and protecting its citizens traveling or residing there. In addition, these offices are charges with performing other important administrative duties such as issuing visas (where this is required) to host country nationals wishing to travel to the country the consulate represents. All consulates, whether located in the capital city or in other communities, are administratively under the ambassador and the embassy. In addition to carrying out their consular duties, they often serve as branch offices for the embassy, supporting, for example, the latter's political and economic responsibilities. Consulates are expected to play a particularly significant role in connection with the promotion of their own country's exports and other commercial activities. Officers performing consular duties are known as consuls or, if more junior, vice consuls. The chief of the consulate is known as the consul.

Consulate General

A bigger and more important consulate, presided over by a consul-general.


A contract is an agreement entered into voluntarily by two or more parties, each of whom intends to create one or more legal obligations between or among them.  The elements of a contract are "offer" and "acceptance" by competent persons having legal capacity, who exchange consideration to create mutuality of obligation.  Contracts may be entered into orally, by conduct, or in writing.  A contract is a legally enforceable promise or undertaking that something will or will not occur, with an exchange of consideration.


An agreement between two or more states, often more, concerning matters of common interest. While supposedly used for lesser matters than embraced in a treaty, it often deals with important subjects indeed - international postal and copyright laws, for example, of the law of the sea.


A document affecting or changing the title/ownership of real property.


The name for letters given to an ambassador by his chief of state, and addressed to the chief of state of his host country. They are delivered to the latter by ambassadors in a formal credentials ceremony, which generally takes place shortly after his arrival at a new post. Until this ceremony has taken place he is not formally recognized by the host country, and he cannot officially act as an ambassador. The letters are termed "letters of credence" because they request the receiving chief of state to give "full credence" to what the ambassador will say of behalf of his government.

Custodian of the Document

The person who has charge or custody of the document. In the case of making an certified photocopy, the 'document's custodian' is the person presenting the document, who may or may not be the document signer or a party named in the document.