Commissioner for oaths

Commissioner for oaths
See also

A commissioner for oaths is a legal term that defines a person who has the power to verify statutes, affidavits, and various other legal documents. Typically, these documents are legal acts in which a person (the so-called deponent) testifies under oath that their content is true in all respects. The task of the commissioner for oaths is to certify that the veracity of the document has been confirmed by the deponent and that the oath has been made. Since affidavits are often used as evidence in court hearings, the work of said commissioner is very important in the legal proceedings. Outside the courts, commissioners for oaths are often used, for example, when signing rental contracts. Their role is to be present when signing such contract by the property owner and the tenant. In this situation, the commissioner confirms that the lease agreement has been signed by both parties [1].

Functions of commissioner for oaths

Commissioner for oaths has a vast range of functions. The main ones are for example [2] :

  • To make sure that deponent completely understands contents of the document they are signing - the Commissioner is ought to encourage the person who makes the statement to read it thoroughly and fully understand it, as the signed affidavit is final and used as possible evidence in unchanged form.
  • To uniquely identify the person signing the affidavit - the deponent has to show a document confirming his identity (for example his ID card) to the commissioner. Only after such unique identification that excludes possibility of any kind of mistake, the affidavit can be signed.
  • To make sure that statement is in writing - the affidavit confirmed by the commissioner must be in form of a signed document. Oral testimony cannot be certified.
  • To certify the authenticity of a document's content by taking an oath pledged by deponent - every certified document has to be confirmed by pledging the oath by the person signing it. The content of an oath varies depending on the religious denominations of the deponent and the laws of a country in which the affidavit is signed.
  • To give legal effect to a document by ending it with the "jurat" - each affidavit must be concluded by "jurat" with information about the date and place of its completion, as well as identities of both commissioners for oaths and deponent.

How to become commissioner for oaths

Every lawyer with the right to practice has the automatic option of being the commissioner for oaths. However, it is not necessary. Any unpunished person aged 18 or over may apply for such rights. However, the procedure varies depending on the country (or in the case of the US even state) in which one wants to become the commissioner.


  1. Willerton D., Grandfield J., 2013, p.213
  2. Boss A.H., Kilian W., 2008, p.152


Author: Kinga Więcek