An affidavit is a common legal document that refers to a written statement from a witness in a particular case. An affidavit is mostly prepared and drafted by a solicitor, and when it is ready, the Commissioner of oath verifies the document.
An affidavit is a sworn document, so the Commissioner of oaths will check if the person or witness completely understands the affidavit and its contents. The witness may also be asked to raise the hand and say the oath out loud. The witness can also make an affirmation if he/she does not want to swear an oath. The witness also has to sign to testify the oath.
The Significance of Affidavit and Commissioner of Oath
The Commissioner of Oath’s responsibility is to ensure that the witness has sworn the affidavit and signed the document. After the Commissioner’s approval, the affidavit will be submitted to the court as evidence. Some of the essential elements of the affidavit are
- The title of the case
- The name of the witness signing the affidavit
- A written statement that ensures that the witness is 18 years or above
- The facts or evidence mentioned in the affidavit and how the witness may have acquired the information
- The date and signature of the witness
- A ‘jurat’ which is the part of the affidavit that the Commissioner of oaths verifies and signs
The Commissioner of Oath Ottawa, Ontario, is authorized to verify affidavits, legal documents, oaths, family declarations, and other statutory declarations. There is a slight difference between affidavits and statutory declarations where the former are written statements on oath while the latter refers to written statements that the person signs and asserts to be true.
The Commissioner of oath is a notable and honorary person who is appointed by the Chief Justice. The Commissioner of the oath does not necessarily mean a solicitor; however, solicitors can administer oaths. The two clauses indicate that the Commissioner of oath who acts as a
- Solicitor cannot administer his powers in proceedings where they may be a party to one individual
- Non-solicitor, who must not act anywhere other than the one they are appointed for
Commissioner of oath services is needed if a person has to submit an affidavit as evidence in a court of law and when making an affirmation, declaration, attestation, and acknowledgment. A person may also want the Commissioner’s sign when registering personal documents or declaring the transfer of property.
The Important Functions performed by the Commissioner of Oath
Most people do not know the purpose or function of an oath commissioner and only get to know when faced with any legal matter or when wanting to register or attest documents. There are numerous tasks of Commissioner of oath that may include
- To ensure that the affidavit or evidence from the witness is in written form
- To determine if the person drafting the affidavit has read the contents of the document and understands it in full
- To establish and state the identity of the witness who drafts and signs the affidavit
- Ensure that the witness raises his hand swears to the oath as recommended by law, and repeat the words of the oath
- To authenticate the affidavit and acknowledging that the witness swore the affidavit
The oath Commissioner usually charges a fee for providing the services either for legal affidavits or personal declarations.
Difference between Commissioning and Notarizing Documents
Most people think that commissioning and notarizing documents is the same thing. But misunderstanding between the two can lead to delays in submitting essential documents and even rejection and penalty of submitting the wrong document. Some of the individuals who are Commissioner of oath due to the status of their office include lawyers, judges, notary publics, and political representatives.
The tasks performed by a notary public, on the other hand, include
- Take affidavits and administer oaths. Also, attest the declarations, affidavits, and affirmations.
- Signing and certifying a copy of a document
- Witness and attest a document
A notary public mostly carries a seal and stamp, which they sign and attest documents.
The difference between commissioners of oath and notary public depends on the document’s use and the person who requires the document. For example, for any legal document outside Ontario, a notary public is required. Also, a notary public can certify and attest a document.
A commissioner of oath cannot certify or verify documents or even photocopy documents or even claim that a particular document is valid or not. The seal and stamp of commissioners of oath are only applicable in the same province. For example, a commissioner of oath Ontario can only certify documents that will be used as evidence in the state of Ontario.
The person or witness who swears an oath and signs the affidavit must stand in front of the commissioner of oath and also provide a valid driver’s license, identification, and valid passport. The commissioner of oath sign the affidavit but cannot guarantee the truth, and the witness who swears on the oath and signs the affidavit will be responsible for the legal implications of the contents of the affidavit are not accurate.
Who can act as a Commissioner of Oath?
The Commissioner of oath may also be responsible for certifying a statutory document that allows a person to claim some information to be true if no other legal evidence is available. The use of statutory documents includes declarations of identity, marital status, and nationality.
The Commissioner of oath is needed to provide certification for any administrative work, government organizations, or internal businesses. Some of the documents that are commissioned or need the authorization of the Commissioner of oath include
- Property transfer, estate, divorce, and mortgage
- Lease agreements, proof of loss, and contracts
- Brokerage documents and insurance
- Government documents
- Sale and bond documents
Many individuals act as Commissioner of oath due to the office or position they hold, such as lawyers, police officers, government officials, and legislative assembly members. The individuals do not have to apply for an appointment, and they cannot serve as a commissioner of oath once they retire from office or position they hold.