Oaths and Affirmations (WA)
In Western Australia, a person will be required to take an oath or make an affirmation when they are signing an affidavit or when they are to give evidence in court. Oaths and Affirmations in WA are governed by the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005.
An oath is a religious declaration that involves a person swearing before God or in accordance with their religious beliefs that they will tell the truth.
Under section 4 of the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005, a person in Western Australia may take an oath in any of the following ways:
- I swear by Almighty God…
- I swear by [name of a deity recognized by the person’s religion]…
- I swear, according to the religion and the beliefs I profess…
An affirmation is a non-religious equivalent of an oath. A person may take an affirmation if they object to taking an oath or if it is not practical to do so.
An affirmation is given by saying, ‘I sincerely declare and affirm…’
Who may administer an oath or affirmation?
The following persons may administer an oath or affirmation in WA:
- Judicial officers
- Judicial registrars
- Justices of the Peace
- Legal Practitioners who have held a practising certificate for at least two years
- Public Notaries
When a person makes an affidavit, they must take an oath or affirmation in the presence of an authorized witness. The affidavit must conclude with a statement that it is sworn or affirmed in the presence of an authorized witness and the place where it is being signed. Both the deponent and the witness must sign each page of the affidavit and the deponent must take an oath or affirmation that they are the person named in the affidavit as its maker, that the contents of the affidavit are true and that the signature or mark is theirs. The witness must clearly write their name and qualification.
When a person makes a statutory declaration, they must sign or mark the declaration and declare in the presence of an authorized witness that they are the person named in the declaration and that its contents are true. The authorized witness must sign or mark the declaration and write their name and qualification.
Under section 17 of the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005, it is an offence to pretend to be an authorized witness for an affidavit or statutory declaration. This offence is punishable by imprisonment for 12 months.
Under section 124 of the Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1924, a person who gives false testimony in a judicial proceeding is guilty of the offence of perjury. This offence is punishable by imprisonment for 14 years.
If perjury is committed in an attempt to procure the conviction of another person for an offence punishable by life imprisonment, it is punishable by imprisonment for life.
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