Normally, people refer to notarizations for all types of legal documents that require a notary seal. However, there are different types of “notarizations”. According to section 18 of the Notaries Act, besides preparing Wills and transferring real estate property, the duties and powers of a Notary Public include many other services, including:
- Drawing affidavits, affirmations or statutory declarations that may or are required to be administered, sworn, affirmed or made by the law of British Columbia, another province of Canada, or another country;
- Administering oaths; and
- Performing other duties authorized by an Act.
In other words, “notarizations” could take many forms, such as attesting to the validity of your signature as proof of your swearing/affirming on Statutory Declarations or Affidavits, providing certified true copies of original documents, authentications of international documents, or preparing letters of invitations for foreign travel or child travel consent.
Affidavits are legal documents containing statements of facts that are confirmed by the oath or affirmation of their author taken before a person having the authority to administer such oath or affirmation (i.e. Notary Public or Commissioner for Taking Affidavits).
Affidavits are used in various circumstances:
- To present evidence in certain types of proceedings in the course of civil litigation;
- To determine the issue of assessment of damages or of the value of goods in a civil lawsuit;
- To present written evidence to the court when a court’s decision is appealed;
- To give evidence when Trustees, executors, administrators, and receivers, are submitting their accounts for review to officers of the court;
- To prove that court documents have been properly served on a party to a civil lawsuit;
- For other matters when an oath or affirmation must be applied in a foreign jurisdiction and a Statutory Declaration cannot be used.
Statutory Declarations are “creatures of statute law” (or legislation) as to their content and format requirements and have the same legal force and effect as if sworn under oath or affirmation.
Authentications of International Documents
When a Notary attests documents for use in a foreign jurisdiction, the signature and office of the Notary must be verified or “authenticated” before the document will be accepted for use in a foreign country. In other words, to “authenticate” means to establish as genuine or to make authoritative or valid.
The internationally accepted way of providing a guarantee regarding the authenticity of a documents is called “apostille.”. The origin of the word apostille refers to “words written after words” or explanatory notes written in the margin. Under the Hague Convention, apostille refers to a special certificate added to the end of the document making it immediately authenticated and read for use in the other country that signed the Convention.
Since Canada did not sign the Hague Convention, the “apostille” does not apply. However, we have developed our own internationally accepted process often known as the “chain authentication,”, which is a lineup of officials that in turn verifies the document before it can be recognized by another country. If you want to find out more about this “chain authentication,”, please contact me.