Commissioner of Oaths- The Services

A Commissioner of Oaths is a person who has the authority to administer and witness oaths, and other legal documents in writing. A lawyer or an advocate holding a current practicing certificate, and qualified to administer oaths can use the title of Commissioner of Oaths.

A Commissioner of Oath need not be a notary always. A notary public on the one hand can serve as a Commissioner of Oaths, but a Commissioner of Oaths cannot serve the duties of a notary unless he is qualified for it. A notary has more powers than a Commissioner of Oaths. The duty of a Commissioner is to verify that the process of authentication of a document has been followed properly, but he cannot authenticate any document.  Where the duties of a notary is, to verify that a document is valid, has the authority to seal it and can also draw up documents such as contracts, deeds etc.

When do you need the service of a Commissioner of Oaths?

Deponents are responsible for the statement of the facts to which they are swearing. They must sign the document in the presence of the commissioner for oaths even though they may have previously signed it, because the commissioner must be able to attest to the deponent’s oath and signature.

The essential functions of a Commissioner for Oaths are:

  • to ensure that a written or a drafted evidence is presented for witnessing
  • tomake sure that the person who needs to swear the oath has full understanding of the drafted affidavit and its meaning.
  • to ask the person to swear or take an oath that the all that is declared in the affidavit is true by raising the Testament in his/her hand.
  • to finally verify that the affidavit was properly sworn in
  • to complete the service by charging a fee for his/her services.

Who can be a Commissioner of Oaths?

  • Apart from those who are appointed as Commissioner of Oaths by the Chief of Justice, there are others who can administer oaths from the virtue of their posts. Some of these people are:
  • Clerks and their deputies of a court of justice
  • Advocates and notaries
  • Mayors, clerks of a municipality, and also the secretary treasures
  • The Secretary General, Associates Secretaries General and the Associates Secretaries of National Assemblies
  • The Justice of Peace




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