Commissioners for Oaths
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.
A Commissioner for Oaths is appointed by the Chief Justice and is usually, though not always, a solicitor. Every solicitor holding a current practising certificate is entitled to administer oaths and to use the title "Commissioner for Oaths". A Commissioner for Oaths may continue to act as a Commissioner for Oaths for as long as he/she remains a solicitor.
A Commissioner for Oaths who is a:
- Solicitor – they 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 – they must not practise outside the area for which they are appointed.
A Commissioner for Oaths, who is also a Peace Commissioner, must not charge fees for administering oaths or taking declarations or affirmations that they are required by law not to charge for as a Peace Commissioner.
You may need the services of a Commissioner for Oaths if:
- you are giving evidence on affidavit for court proceedings in Ireland
- you are making an affirmation, declaration, acknowledgement, 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 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".
The fees a Commissioner for Oaths can charge are given in the Rules of the Superior Courts (Fees Payable to Commissioners for Oaths) (SI 616 of 2003). There is a standard fee of €10 euro per signature for verifying statements. If there is an exhibit, for example a marriage certificate, attached to the document that needs to be signed, there is a €2 charge for that. You are advised to check charges in advance.
How to apply
If you need a Commissioner for Oaths, you should contact a solicitor and find out whether they provides a Commissioner for Oaths service to the public.
If you want to be appointed as a Commissioner for Oaths you apply by Petition to the Chief Justice. You must verify the Petition by Affidavit, accompanied by Certificates of Fitness signed by 6 members of the legal profession and by six leaders of the local business community.