A Commissioner for Oaths is a person who is authorised to verify affidavits, which are statements in writing and on oath, and other legal documents.
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 him/her has read the draft affidavit and fully understands the contents
- to require the person to swear that the affidavit is true by raising the appropriate Testament in the right hand and repeating the words of the oath
- to verify that the affidavit was properly sworn by completing a “jurat” on the affidavit
- to charge a fee for his/her services.
Oaths and Affirmations
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. It’s important to remember that you may also be required to provide evidence of your identity by the Commissioner particularly if you are having an affadavit verified (but this largely depends on the type of documents that is being verified). It is useful however to bring a standard form of identification with you on your visit, (a passport, driving licence, social welfare book, student I.D. card, etc.).
The oath to be taken by persons before the Commissioner for Oaths is as follows
“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 being sworn on the grounds that taking an oath is against his/her religious belief or that he/she has 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”.
In addition to having affidavits sworn before a Commissioner for Oaths, a Commissioner is also empowered by the Statutory Declarations Act 1938 (as amended) to attest the signing of a Statutory Declaration. A Statutory Declaration is a declaration in writing of any person making the same in the form set out in the Schedule to the Statutory Declarations Act 1938.
If you are not known to the Commissioner for Oaths, you should bring with you either your passport, EU or EEA national identity card, aliens passport, refugee travel document or a travel document (other than a refugee travel document) issued by the Minister for Justice and Equality.
The following is the form or words to be used when a statutory declaration, rather than an affidavit, is being declared:-
“I solemnly and sincerely declare that this is my name and handwriting, that I have read this declaration and that the contents of this declaration are true.”