A commissioner of oaths is a title you are unlikely to have heard before, but it is an essential part of British law.
In this article, we explore the role and its importance, as well as delving into the circumstances that require a commissioner of oaths.
What is a commissioner of oaths?
A commissioner of oaths is an individual who has been authorised and appointed by the Lord Chancellor with the power to administer oaths and affirmations, or take affidavits.
They can act as an impartial witness to people signing documents, ensuring they not only understand the document but are signing it voluntarily. The role also allows these individuals to verify the identity of signatories and confirm that any statements made are accurate.
Practising solicitors have the power to act as a commissioner of oaths, but they are unable to act on these powers in proceedings they have an interest in.
Why is having a commissioner of oaths important?
Having a Commissioner of Oaths not only helps to protect individuals with legal transactions, but they are also essential for ensuring the authenticity of documents. Their presence acts as an extra layer of protection for individuals signing because part of their role is to verify the individual is aware of the legal implications of doing so and that they are acting of their own free will.
A Commissioner of Oaths has become a key part of the British legal system that helps to prevent fraud, false statements and misrepresentation.
When do you need a commissioner of oaths?
There are a number of legal situations when you will require a commissioner of oaths, such as:
A statutory declaration is a formal and legally binding statement in which you declare that something is true to the best of your knowledge. Statutory declarations are used in a number of circumstances, such as transferring an estate, applying for a patent, completing an insurance claim or legally verifying a name or address, to list just a few examples.
This type of legal document always needs to be confirmed in the presence of a legal professional, such as a commissioner of oaths, who will administer and authenticate the declaration.
An affidavit is a formal written statement of evidence which must be affirmed and witnessed by a commissioner of oaths. The individual with this role is responsible for ensuring that this written document is accurate, authentic and completed without coercion.
Often legal documents will need notarising, which requires the identity and signature of the signatory to be verified. A commissioner of oaths can provide this service, confirming the authenticity of the copied legal documents and providing their official seal.
Who is responsible for hiring a commissioner of oaths?
Generally, the responsibility of hiring a commissioner of oaths will fall on the individual or company requiring their services.
As part of our service at Wafer Philips, we are authorised to act as a commissioner of oaths on your behalf. Our solicitors can certify copies of original documents, witness statutory declarations and provide independent witness signatures on the basis that the document doesn’t prohibit us from doing so. In some cases, these documents may stipulate that the witness is required to have known you for a set period of time.
By offering these services to our clients, we ensure that your documents meet the necessary legal requirements, being properly verified and witnessed.
If you require the expertise and legal authority of a Commissioner of Oaths, you can rely on our team at Wafer Philips to fulfil this role, streamlining the process and providing you with all the legal support you require.
How much does a commissioner of oaths charge?
The charges associated with services offered by a Commissioner of Oaths can vary depending on your location, the time involved and the type and complexity of the document.
At Wafer Philips, we will always provide our clients with a precise understanding and breakdown of the charges associated with using a commissioner of oaths service. Typically we charge a fee of £5 per document, but if you need any further advice or have any questions about this service, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.
Get in touch
At Wafer Philips Solicitors, we understand the important role that commissioners of oaths play in maintaining the law and providing authenticity to documents.
Whether it’s a statutory declaration, affidavit, or notarization, having a commissioner of oaths helps uphold the credibility and reliability of legal documents, instilling confidence in their validity and accuracy.
If you would like to learn more about Statutory Declarations or other documents that would require a Commissioner of Oaths, visit our website.