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Notary Services Glossary beginning with N

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.
Negotiable Instrument

A cheque, promissory note, bill of exchange, security, or any document representing money payable which can be transferred to another by handing it over (delivery) and/or endorsing it (signing one's name on the back) either with no instructions or directing it to another such as "pay to the order of ..."

Next of Kin

'Next-of-kin' is a person's closest living blood relative or relatives. In some jurisdictions, 'next-of-kin' is legally defined. In other countries, such as the United Kingdom next-of-kin may have no legal definition and may not necessarily refer to blood relatives at all.

Notarial Act

An official act that a notary public is authorized to perform.  Any written narration of facts drawn up by an Notary Public (also known as Notarization).  These include administering an oath, taking an acknowledgment or declaration, to witness or attest signatures, certify or attest to a true copy of a document, or any other other act authorized by law, by affixing a complete notarial certificate including the notary's official signature and seal, in order to give them credit and authenticity.

Notarial Certificate

When performing a notarization, this is the formal written statement made by a notary public, and then signed and sealed by that notary public certifying the facts (see Statement of Particulars) of the notarial act performed immediately prior to filling out the notarial certificate.  The notarial certificate is appended or attached to your document.

The most common examples of notarial certificates include witnessing the signing of a document and taking of identification to confirm identity, and certifying that a copy is a true copy of an original document.  Also known as a Notarial Block. 

The requirements for a proper Notarial Certificate in British Columbia are:

  1. The venue (city and province where the notarial act is being performed). 
  2. The date the notarization took place. 
  3. The declaration describing the type of notarial act performed. 
  4. The notary's original/official signature. 
  5. The notary's official name clearly typed, stamped or printed (under the signature and in addition to the notary's name in the seal). 
  6. The notary's title: 'A Notary Public in and for the Province of British Columbia'. 
  7. Commission expiration date (Either 'never' for lawyers, or the expiry date for regular notaries).  
  8. The notary's official seal.

To certify or attest to the validity of a signature on a document, or contract, as a lawyer or notary public. Many documents require a notarization in an effort to deter fraud and to prove the authenticity of the signature. A notarization on a document indicates that a notary public has taken all reasonable steps to verify a signer's identity before witnessing that person's signature. If you are interested in more information about notarizations, please see our article How to Get a Notarization in Vancouver.


To 'notarize' can mean various things.  Typically, it is the performance by a notary of a series of possible steps, including the following examples:

  1. Identifying the person appearing before the notary.  
  2. Satisfying the notary that the person appearing is of full age and capacity to do whatever is intended.
  3. Taking an affidavit or declaration and recording that fact.
  4. Witnessing the execution of a document and preparing a notarial certificate.
  5. sealing and stamping and signing a document.
  6. Making a certified copy of an original document.

Documents are notarized to deter fraud and to prove the authenticity of the signature. A notarization on a document indicates that a notary public has taken all reasonable steps to verify a signer's identity before witnessing that person's signature. If you are interested in more information about notarizations, please see our article How to Get a Notarization in Vancouver.

Notarized 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 preparing and attaching a notarial certificate to the copy.  The lawyer or notary must see the original before they can prepare the notarized copy.  However, once this is done properly, the notarized 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 notarized copies, pleaes see our two articles Certified Copy by Vancouver Notary and How to Get a Notarization in Vancouver.


See Notary Public for definition.  

The notary profession exists all around the world.  As can be seen from the list below, the word 'Notary' is translated into many different languages.  As some foreign letters cannot be displayed properly, some of the translations are phonetic.

  • Notaris (Afrikaans notary)
  • ktb l`dl (Arabic notary)
  • Noter (Albanian notary)
  • Notar (Armenian notary)
  • Notarius (Azerbaijani notary)
  • Nataryus (Belarussian notary)
  • aainsNkraant kichu krm smpaadn (Bengali notary)
  • Notarius (Bulgarian notary)
  • Notari (Catalan notary)
  • Gong Zheng (simplified Chinese notary)
  • Gong Zheng (traditional Chinese notary)
  • Biljeznik (Croatian notary)
  • notar (Czech notary)
  • notaryo (Filipino notary)
  • notaire (French notary)
  • notaari (Finish notary)
  • sanotaro (Georgian notary)
  • Notar (German notary)
  • symvolaiografos (Greek notary)
  • nottrii (Gujarati notary)
  • Note (Haitian Creo notary)
  • nvtryvn (Hebrew notary)
  • shpth (Hindi notary)
  • Jegyzo (Hungarian notary)
  • logbokanda (Icelandic notary)
  • Notaio (Italian notary)
  • Gong Zheng Ren (Japanese notary)
  • leekhyprmaannk (Kannada notary)
  • gongjeungin (Korean notary)
  • notars (Latvian notary)
  • dftr snd rsmy (Persian notary)
  • Notariusz (Polish notary)
  • Notarius (Russian notary)
  • Belezhnik (Serbian notary)
  • Notar (Slovak notary)
  • Notario (Spanish notary)
  • thnaaykhwaam (Thai notary)
  • Notarius (Ukrainian notary)
  • nwttry (Urdu notary)
  • cong chung vien (Vietnamese notary)
Notary Block

The wording that a notary adds to a document to describe the services they have perfomed. Also known as a 'Notary Signature Block'. These can include:

  • acknowledement
  • certified copy
  • jurat certificate
  • witness to a document

Please see each of the above terms for futher information.

Notary Flag

An apostille is the certificate issued by member countries of the Hague Convention. Countries that are not member countries of the Hague Convention use a Certificate of Authentication. The terminology can be confusing, as the term notary flag is sometimes equated with an apostille, and sometimes with a Certificate of Authentication. Our understanding is that a notary flag is a synonym for a Certificate of Authentication. Practically speaking, it is a piece of paper that verifies a notary's signature, and that the notary was actively commissioned at the time that an acknowledgment or notarization was performed. In Canada, a notary flag is basically the equivalent to an authentication. The term is usually used outside North America, so some notaries use this term for the convenience of foreign clients. Interestingly, the term notary flag is still used in at least one American jurisdiction; the State of Connecticut.

In a slightly different context, the term 'notary flag' may have originated from the historical use of fancy presentation foils that use ribbons and wax embossing seals. These are known as pendant seals, and the resemblance to a flag is quite apparent. While documents can look very important and decorative with flags attached, that wasn't the original purpose... In some instances, the security of multi-page notarized documents could be compromised. This is because these documents were sometimes left loose in an envelope, or simply stapled together. It would be quite easy to remove pages (apart from the signed and sealed pages) and replace them with false pages. There are two measures that reduce this problem somewhat. One is the use of an embossing notary seal on every page of the document. Another is to punch a hole through all the pages, run a ribbon through the hole, put the loose ends of the ribbon under a foil seal, and apply the embosser to the foil. This archaic method tended to look like a flag, hence the likely origin of the term 'notary flag'. The foil and ribbon treatment wasn't decorative; it was intended to make it more difficult to add or substitute pages after the document was sealed. This is a picture of a old applied seal, and here is a picture of a pendant seal.

Notary Journal

A Notary Journal or Notary Record Book is used to keep a detailed record of the notarial acts that a notary public performs. It typically contains a record of date and type of document, name and signature, witness, address and fee charged.

Notary Public

A person authorized to witness the signing of documents, make certified copies, solemn declarations, and affidavits, etc...  In British Columbia, the rights and powers of notaries are set out in Section 18 of the B.C. Notaries Act. Section 14(3) of the Legal Profession Act, provides that lawyers in British Columbia are automatically granted the same powers as a notaries. This is an ex officio right. Section 14(3) reads: A practising lawyer is entitled to use the style and title of "Notary Public in and for the Province of British Columbia," and has and may exercise all the powers, rights, duties and privileges of the office of notary public.

The tradition of Notaries goes back over 2000 years - to the dawn of recorded history. Notaries laid down the Codex Hammurabi, the oldest evidence of recorded law. Notaries were also employed by the Catholic Church to guide the light of civilization through the Dark Ages. The Notary's reputation for trustworthiness meant that documents retained a stable reliability throughout centuries of upheaval. 

For a general overview of the notary public profession which covers the different legal systems and jurisdictions, plus a brief history, Wikipedia's Notary Public page is a good place to start. For a more comprehensive history of the ancient notary profession spanning Ancient Egypt (2750-2250 B.C.), the Roman Empire (A.D. 535), the Order of the Knights Templar (1099-1307), Old England (14th Century), Columbus (15th Century), and Colonial America (1600-1933), go to the Notary History page of the American National Notary Association website. In addition, our Resources & Links page includes relevant legal and notorial legislation, as well as the various notary societies, foundations, and associations.

Notary Seal

See 'Seal'.

Notice Of Loss

A notice detailing the losses and the circumstances surrounding how those losses occurred.  A Notice of Loss is required by an insurance company immediately after an accident or other loss.