Commissioners for Oaths
A Commissioner for Oaths is a person who is authorised to witness the signing of important legal documents, including affidavits and statutory declarations. They are appointed by the Chief Justice and are usually, though not always, a solicitor. All practicing solicitors can also administer oaths. Unlike a Peace Commissioner, a Commissioner for Oaths charges a fee for their services.
When would you need a Commissioner for Oaths?
You may need a Commissioner for Oaths if you are:
- Giving evidence on affidavit for court proceedings in Ireland
- Making an affirmation, declaration, acknowledgement, examination or attestation for a variety of reasons, including court proceedings or for the registration of documents
If you need a Commissioner for Oaths, you should contact a solicitor and ask whether they provide this service to the public. You may need to provide the Commissioner with evidence of your identity, such as a passport or driving licence.
When you go to a Commissioner for Oaths they will:
- Make sure you have a document that is written down
- Check your identification
- Establish that you have read the affidavit or document and understand what it says
- Have you swear that the affidavit is true
- Verify that the affidavit was properly sworn by completing a "jurat" which records your name, the place and the date.
In order to swear you will use a sacred text. The Commissioner for Oaths will have a variety of sacred texts available. If you are not religious then you may make an affirmation rather than an oath.
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). They are:
- €10 euro per signature for verifying statements
- €2 charge for each exhibit that is attached to the document, up to a maximum of €30.
You are advised to check the charges in advance as they may vary. If the Commissioner for Oaths has to travel to you there will probably be an extra fee, for example.
A Commissioner for Oaths, who is also a Peace Commissioner, must not charge fees for administering oaths or taking declarations or affirmations that they cannot charge for as a Peace Commissioner.
How to become a Commissioner for Oaths
Commissioners for Oaths are appointed by the Chief Justice. Applications are made by petition. This is accompanied by a certificate of fitness generally signed by six members of the legal profession and six leaders of the local business community. There are a number of fees(pdf) required to make an application.
If you are a Commissioner for Oaths and you are a:
- Solicitor – you cannot use your powers in any proceedings in which you are acting for any of the parties or in which you have an interest.
- Non-solicitor – you must not practise outside the area for which you are appointed.