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Notary Services Glossary beginning with S

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.

Please see scilicet. Sometimes abbreviated as 'S.S'.

Latin, 'in particular' or 'namely'. Printed near the venue of a notarial certificate.


Please see scilicet. Sometimes abbreviated as 'SCT'.

Latin, 'in particular' or 'namely'. Printed near the venue of a notarial certificate.

Satisfactory Evidence

Sufficient means of identifying a signer which meets criteria set forth by law. Government issued picture ID is required for client identification.


 'S.S.' is the abbreviation for 'scilicet' - a Latin term meaning "namely" or "in particular."  It is the predecessor of today's familiar, and required, venue element. The pronunciation is 'SILL-le-cet.'  

The venue section on most notarial certificates will appear as follows:

      State of _________ 
      County of ________

For these, the notary simply fills in the state and country.  However, the abbreviation 'S.S.', (or scilicet) still makes an occasional appearance.

The following example uses the abbreviation S.S.:

     State of _________
     County of ________  S.S.
The second line translates as: 'County of (name of the county) in particular'. The notary simply fills-in the name of the county where the notarial act actually occurred.

Here's an example that uses an S.S. with the added requirement of inserting the Town/City:

      State of _________
      County of ________  S.S. (Town/City)

In this usage, the S.S. indicates that the notary should further specify the venue by including the town or city name following the county name.

The important factor when dealing with S.S. notations is for the notary to indicate the correct venue with the standard required information of province and city, or state and county, as the case may be. Once this is done, the notary must then decide whether an S.S. notation on the certificate requires any additional venue information such as the town or city, or whether the S.S. is simply a formality that was already satisfied by noting the standard venue infomation. In most all cases, it will be the latter. In Canada, state and county are akin to province and city.

Scrivener (Scribe)

'Scrivener' is an archaic word for scribe. It refers to a person who writes out deed or letters. In other words, a scrivener is a professional copyist or writer. Scriveners remain a common sight in countries where literacy rates remain low; for a fee, they read letters for illiterate customers, as well as write letters and fill out forms. Portable typewriters are used to prepare letters for clients.

Scrivener is also an old word for notary, first used in the 14th century, and still used in some countries. For example, in Japan, the word 'scrivener' (shoshi) is used to refer to judicial scriveners and administrative scriveners, which are legal professions. Korea has a similar profession called 'beopmusa' (Hangul or Hanja).

Etymolgically, 'scrivener' originates from the middle English scriveiner, from the Anglo-French escrivein (clerk), from the Old French escrivain, ultimately from Latin scriba for scribe. In ancient times, a scrivener was also called a 'calligraphus'.

Scrivener Notary

A notary who speaks more than two languages and works in the City of London, UK.


The word 'seal' comes from the Latin word sigillum, which is a diminutive for signum, which means 'sign'. Historically, seals were used primarily to authenticate documents, specifically those which carry some legal importance. There are two main ways in which seals were attached to documents. They were applied directly to the face of the paper or parchment (an applied seal); or hanging loose (a pendent seal). Applied seals were originally used to verify the sender of a document's identity, and to seal the document closed - the document would be folded and the seal applied with sealing wax so that the item could not be opened without the wax seal being broken. In general, seals are no longer used in these ways except for ceremonial purposes. However, applied seals also came to be used on the face of legal instruments, so that there was no need to break them, and this use continues today (with embossed seals). Embossed seals are embossed onto a piece of paper with an upper and lower die, which when pressed together brings the dies closely together. This produces a raised embossed imprint - which is used to emboss directly into the paper. Sometimes a wafer or self adhesive seal is used, which is reminiscent of the ancient wax impressions.  This is an antique English seal used by notary public Thomas Clarke from Great Yarmouth, England. This is a picture of a old applied seal, and here is a picture of a pendant seal.

Today, a notary seal is a press, normally made of steel, used to imprint an emblem on a piece of paper by deforming the page. This is also known as 'embossing'. Notarial seals are used when an oath is sworn before a lawyer or notary, or when a commissioner certifies a copy of a document as a true copy.  However, these tasks can be done without a seal.  It is sufficient if the commissioner indicates that they are a commissioner by writing their name and office on the document.  Therefore notary seals are not mandatory for documents notarized in British Columbia for use within British Columbia.  While not mandatory, using a notary seal is good practice for several reasons:

  1. A seal identifies the commissioner, notary, or lawyer who notarized the document;
  2. A seal prevents fraud, as each seal is under the exclusive control of the named commissioner, notary, or lawyer. Therefore once a seal is applied on a document for notarization purposes, that document cannot be replaced; and
  3. A seal also imparts ritual and solemnity to documents that are 'under seal'.

In some cases, documents notarized in British Columbia will only be recognized as valid in other countries if they bear a notary seal.  These documents sometimes require authentication and legalization, also known as the Apostille certificate process. A seal must be kept under the direct and exclusive control of the notary. A seal should be sharp, legible, permanent and photographically reproducible. Care should be taken not to obscure the signatures or other parts of the document. Seals are sometimes backed by gold or red foil. While the use of colored foil helps with visibiltiy in photocopies, the use of foil may originate from antiquity when seals were called Golden Bulls. The term Bull comes from the Latin term Bulla, because whether made of wax, lead, or gold, the material making the seal had to be melted to soften it and take on an impression: From the Latin bullire, 'to boil'.

In British Columbia today, a seal will have the notary's name, plus the words 'Notary Public' and 'British Columbia', like this sample seal.


The Latin word for 'seal'.  A diminutive of the Latin word signum, which means 'sign'.


One's name as written by one's self.

Signature Block

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

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

Please see each of the above terms for futher information.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

Under older common law, a deed used to have to be sealed; that is, accompanied not only by a signature but with an impression on wax onto the document - hence the expression 'signed, sealed and delivered'. 

Society of Notaries Public of B.C.

B.C. notaries are governed by the Notaries Act of BC and are subject to the discipline of the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia.

This is the logo of the Society of Notaries Public of B.C.:

Solemn Declaration

Please see 'Statutory Declaration' in this glossary. Essentially, a solemn declaration is what a declarant does in the creation of a statutory declaration.  For further detail, please see the article we wrote on Statutory Declarations and Affidavits.

Statement of Particulars

Wording in a notarial certificate that describes what the Notary has certified.

Statutory Declaration

A statutory declaration is a written document that summarizes facts that the declarant says to be true.  The statutory declaration is then affirmed or sworn to be true.  The affirmation must be taken by a lawyer or notary, or some other designated official.  A Statutory Declaration will have a deponent affirm with the following declaration: I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing it to be true and knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath and by virtue of the Canada Evidence Act.  Section 15 of the Canada Evidence Act is the governing legislation. For further detail, please see the article we wrote on Statutory Declarations and Affidavits.

Statutory Declaration for Professional Registration

If you're about to start a new career, you'll find that most professional colleges and associations in B.C. require new members to provide statutory declarations and certified copies of documents as part of the application or registration process.  For more detailed information, please see an article we wrote regarding what is required to apply or register for membership in a professional association or college in B.C.

Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union

This is a CIC form (IMM 5409).  Please see the article we wrote here.


To sign one's name in attestation, testimony, or consent.

Subscribing Witness

The witness to the execution of an instrument who has written his or her name as proof of seeing such execution. One who subscribes his or her name to a writing in order to be able at a future time to prove its due execution; an attesting witness. 


Superlegalization is a term used in some jurisdictions instead of 'legalization'.

The reasoning behind the use of the term superlegalization is that some countries use the term 'legalization' instead of 'authentication'. So, using this reasoning, once a document has been legalized (which is called 'authenticated' in Canada), it must then be superlegalized at the consulate (which is called 'legalization' in Canada).

In very rare instances, some countries require that after a document has been authenticated and legalized (in the Canadian sense described above), it must then be 'superlegalized'. In this case, the authenticated and legalized document is sent the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the recipient country to legalize, or authenticate their own consulate or embassy in Canada. Thankfully, this additional step is now exceedingly rare.

Please see 'Authentication and Legalization' and Apostille for a full explanation.

Swearing Of Oath

An oath may be administered by either swearing (to God) that the contents of a document is true, or by affirming that the contents of a document is true.  A deponent may swear to God that something is true, so long as doing so is in accordance with their belief system, and they conscientiously believe the contents to be true.