Q&As

When administering an oath, do I have to verify the deponent’s identity?

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Published on LexisPSL on 15/11/2019

The following Practice Compliance Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • When administering an oath, do I have to verify the deponent’s identity?

When administering an oath, do I have to verify the deponent’s identity?

Rules and guidance from the regulators on this point are thin on the ground, and getting ever thinner.

The SRA Code of Conduct 2011 provided you must properly administer oaths, affirmations or declarations where you are authorised to do so (O(11.4)). There is no mention of administering oaths in the SRA’s 2019 regime.

We have looked back at historic professional conduct rules and guidance to see if they shed any light on solicitors’ professional obligations when administering oaths.

The 1999 Guide to the Professional Conduct of Solicitors says:

‘17.06: Administering oaths

When administering oaths and affirmations or taking declarations, a solicitor is under a duty to ascertain:

a) that the deponent is in the solicitor’s presence by enquiring whether the signature to the document before the solicitor is the name and in the handwriting of the deponent;

b) that the deponent is apparently competent to depose to the affidavit or declaration;

c) that

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