Some documents need to be sworn on oath, such as affidavits.
When you swear a document you will be asked to sign it in your usual signature and then take the Bible in your right hand and repeat some words to the effect that the contents of the document are true. If you are not of the Christian faith you can “affirm” instead of swearing on the Bible. You should tell the person who is administering the oath if you wish to “affirm” as they will not always ask.
A solicitor who has prepared a document which needs swearing cannot administer the oath. This has to be done by someone independent such as:
- Another Solicitor
- A Commissioner for Oaths
- A Court Official who is authorised to administer Oaths.
N.B. An exception to this rule is where the solicitor who has prepared the document is also a Notary. Such a solicitor may administer an Oath in his capacity as Notary on a document he has prepared.
Swearing or affirming a document is a serious matter. You are stating that the entire contents of the document are true. If it is later discovered that you have made a false statement you could be held in contempt of court and sent to prison. Therefore, before swearing a document, you should read it carefully and draw to your solicitor's attention anything which needs altering.