Main page content
capitalization: legal usage
In legal usage, some common nouns referring to parties in an action, to judicial bodies or to the names of documents are capitalized:
- Counsel for the Plaintiff
- the said Notary
- The Court (meaning the judge) sustained the objection.
- the aforementioned Agreement
- The court was in session.
Capitalize the official names of treaties, agreements, legal codes, pieces of legislation and other official documents, as well as their official short forms:
- the Treaty of Versailles
- the Financial Administration Act
- the White Paper on Taxation
- Order-in-Council P.C. 1354
Do not capitalize general references to pending and defeated legislation:
- Parliament is discussing a new privacy act.
Unofficial short forms
Unofficial short forms are normally capitalized only when they constitute proper nouns or refer to a document of great significance:
- An appeal was launched under the Charter (full name: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).
Do not capitalize short forms when they are used in a general sense, as adjectives or plurals, or with modifiers:
- Farmers objected to some of the treaty provisions.
- Parliament discussed the new white papers before it adjourned.
- Under this act, a subsidy was offered to transportation companies.
Copyright notice for Writing Tips Plus
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement
A tool created and made available online by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada