Commissioners for Oaths

Introduction

A Commissioner for Oaths is a person who is authorised to verify affidavits, statutory declarations, and other legal documents. Affidavits are statements in writing and on oath, and statutory declarations are written statements of facts that the person signs and declares to be true.

A Commissioner for Oaths is appointed by the Chief Justice and is usually, though not necessarily, a solicitor. All practicing solicitors can also administer oaths.

A Commissioner for Oaths who is a:

  • Solicitor – cannot use their powers in any proceedings in which they are acting for any of the parties or in which they have an interest.
  • Non-solicitor – must not practice outside the area for which they are appointed.

You may need the services of a Commissioner for Oaths if you are:

  • Giving evidence on the affidavit for court proceedings in Ireland
  • Making an affirmation, declaration, acknowledgment, examination, or attestation for the purposes of court proceedings or for the purposes of registration of documents

The Functions of a Commissioner for Oaths

The essential functions of a Commissioner for Oaths are:

  • To make sure that the evidence in question is in written form (the draft affidavit)
  • To establish that the person before them has read the draft affidavit and fully understands the contents
  • To have the person swear that the affidavit is true by raising the appropriate Testament in their right hand and repeating the words of the oath
  • To verify that the affidavit was properly sworn by completing a “jurat” on the affidavit

A Commissioner for Oaths charges a fee for their services.

Rules

Oaths and Affirmations

The law that deals with oaths and affirmations dates back to the 19th and early 20th century, and primarily focuses on people of the Christian or Jewish faiths. A person making an oath will be required to swear the oath by raising the New Testament. A person who is Jewish may swear the oath by raising the Old Testament.

The oath you take before the Commissioner for Oaths is:

“I swear by Almighty God that this is my name and handwriting and that the contents of this my affidavit are true”.

A person who objects to swearing the oath on the grounds that taking an oath is against their religious belief or that they have no religious belief is permitted to make a solemn affirmation, which is phrased as follows:

“I, A.B., do solemnly and sincerely affirm that this is my name and handwriting and that the contents of this my affidavit are true”.

You may need to provide the Commissioner with evidence of your identity, particularly if you are having an affidavit verified. So, bring a standard form of identification with you in case it’s needed, for example, a passport or driving license.

Rates

There is a standard fee of R200 (Two hundred South African Rand) per signature for verifying statements. If there is an exhibit, for example, a marriage certificate, that needs to be attached to the document, it also needs to be signed. There is an R100 charge for each exhibit, up to a maximum of R300 for all exhibits combined. You are advised to check the charges in advance. Via [email protected]

How to apply

If you need a Commissioner for Oaths, you should contact a solicitor [email protected]