I'm looking for a specific (legal) term to refer to a replica document that's issued by the relevant officials as a replacement for a legal document that one has lost.

I assume that replica is not the appropriate word, since it would refer to a fake document, rather than an official replacement, and googling, I didn't get anything more specific that just replacement, however I still wonder if there is such a word in English?

NOTE: The document in question is a fancy, embossed one, that just looks like an original, but with "REPLACEMENT" watermark in all its pages; rather than just a photocopy.

  • I think you've answered the question yourself. There is an official "record" of an event or a status. At the time of the event or achieving the status, a document is issued. The status does not change merely because the document evidencing the status is lost. If, say, a license is lost, you can get a "replacement" license or a "duplicate" certificate. If the record itself is lost, you have to "reconstruct" the record, as in the case where court files have been damaged.
    – user26732
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 5:17

4 Answers 4


The law has its own language for just about everything, so it's no surprise that it has its own terms for documents, which often are critical to judicial decisions. The following may prove useful:

  • Copy, a transcript of the writing of an original. Copies are unacceptable as evidence unless they can be certified as accurate by testimony or official act (e.g., the raised seal of office of a state custodian).
  • Tenor or Facsimile "An exact replica of a document that is copied so as to preserve all its original marks and notations."1 (The opposite of a tenor, i.e., a document that contains the sense of the original but not the exact form is called a purport.)
  • Duplicate one of two identical original documents. Each copy is as good as its twin, but in the case of wills, they are so closely linked that should a testator intentionally destroy one copy, it's taken as evidence that he intended to destroy both.

    1. From http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/tenor

See also The Encyclopaedia of Pleading and Practice

  • "Duplicate original" is also increasingly used to describe documents executed in counterparts.
    – user26732
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 5:12

In many cases you will find the term certified copy used.

Type "order certified copy" into Google and you will get many auto-complete results ("order certified copy of marriage certificate" / "order certified copy of death certificate" / etc.).

The Free Dictionary defines it as:

A photocopy of a document, judgment, or record that is signed and attested to as an accurate and a complete reproduction of the original document by a public official in whose custody the original has been placed for safekeeping.

A certified copy is explained in Wikipedia as:

A certified copy is a copy (often a photocopy) of a primary document, that has on it an endorsement or certificate that it is a true copy of the primary document. It does not certify that the primary document is genuine, only that it is a true copy of the primary document.

A certified copy is often used in English-speaking common law countries as a convenient way of providing a copy of documents. It is usually inexpensive to obtain. A certified copy may be required for official government or court purposes and for commercial purposes. It avoids the owner of important documents (especially identity documents) giving up possession of those documents which might mean a risk of their loss or damage.


Duplicate would be acceptable. "I ordered a duplicate Social Security card and certified birth certificate to replace the ones lost in the fire."


Seeing as Restored covers many definitions of bringing things back into existance:

  • to bring back into existence, use, or the like; reestablish: to restore order.

  • to bring back to a former, original, or normal condition, as a building, statue, or painting.

  • to reproduce or reconstruct (an ancient building, extinct animal, etc.) in the original state. dictonary.com

I'd say you possible could use Restored Document or Restored Copy as your term.

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