Oaths and Affirmations (Tas)
In Tasmania, there is a range of situations where a person may be required to take an oath or make an affirmation. This may be because they are to give evidence, because they are taking up public office or because they are signing a statutory declaration or affidavit. Oaths and affirmations in Tasmania are governed by the Oaths Act 2001.
An oath is a religious declaration where a person swears before God to tell the truth to the best of their ability. It may be sworn in accordance with the religion of the deponent’s choice. An oath should be spoken aloud, unless the deponent is unable to speak. It is not necessary that a copy of a scripture be used when an oath is being taken.
An affirmation is a non-religious declaration that a person will tell the truth to the best of their ability. A person can choose to make an affirmation rather than taking an oath because they are not a follower of a religion, or for any other reason.
An affirmation has the same effect as an oath.
When a child witness gives evidence or when a person who is intellectually disabled needs to make a sworn statement, they may make a promise to tell the truth rather than taking a formal oath or affirmation.
Who can administer oaths and affirmations?
In Tasmania, the following person can administer an oath or affirmation:
- Justices of the Peace
- Commissioners for Declarations
- Another person authorised by law such as a legal practitioner or medical practitioner
When is an oath or affirmation taken?
A person may be required to take an oath or make an affirmation in the following situations:
- When they are to give evidence in court
- When they are signing a statutory declaration
- When they are signing an affidavit
- When they are taking up public office
- When they are to serve as a juror
- When they are to act as an interpreter in court proceedings
A statutory declaration must be made using the approved form. It must contain the full name, address, occupation, phone number and signature of the person making it. It should include the full name and credentials of the person witnessing the signature and the date that it is signed and witnessed.
If documents are referenced in the statutory declaration, they should be described and numbered in the statement and copies should be attached, labelled, signed and witnessed.
If any changes are made to a statutory declaration after it has been signed and witnessed, the alternation should also be signed and witnessed.
An affidavit is a sworn statement that is tendered as evidence in court proceedings.
Lying under oath or affirmation
Under section 94 of the Criminal Code 1924, a person who wilfully makes a false statement while under oath or affirmation in a judicial proceeding (including in the contents of an affidavit) is guilty of the offence of perjury. Perjury carries the standard maximum penalty for indictable offences in Tasmania, which is 21 years imprisonment.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.