Nova Scotia Commissioners of Oaths

Commissioners of Oaths

Instructions to Commissioners Under the Notaries and Commissioner Act

Some kinds of legal documents are evidence in a Court if it is shown that the party who made them swore or affirmed their truth. The oath or affirmation is taken by a Commissioner of Oaths. An affidavit is a statement of facts which the maker swears to be true. An affirmation is also a statement of facts but the maker affirms instead of swears it to be true. A declaration includes an affidavit or an affirmation.

1. Appointment - The Minister of Justice appoints Commissioners of Oaths under the authority of the Notaries and Commissioners Act. A Commissioner of Oaths is deemed to be an officer of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. Commissioners take declarations concerning any matter to come before a court in the Province.

Other provincial statutes authorize Commissioners to take declarations on company documents, deeds, mortgages and similar matters.

2. Form of Oath - The Interpretation Act prescribes the method of taking an oath. Those who object to being sworn may affirm. A Commissioner may administer an oath or affirmation with such ceremonies as a person may declare to be binding upon their conscience.

A Commissioner may administer an oath to any person while the person holds a copy of the Old or New Testament. The person taking the oath need not kiss the Bible. The Commissioner asks the persons to swear that the contents of the document are true. Those taking an oath under some other ceremony will do so in accordance with that ceremony.

Those who affirm do so without the Bible. The Commissioner asks them to solemnly affirm that the contents of the document are true.

3. Signature of Commissioner - Commissioners must type, print or stamp their names and the words "A Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia" below or next to their signatures on any documents sworn before them.

4. Stamp - If you wish to have a stamp made for your use, it should be approximately 1\2" x 2" in size and should contain your name and beneath your name the words "A Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia".

5. Commissioners Interested in a Matter - Oaths, affidavits, declarations or affirmations concerning a matter taken by a Commissioner who is a party or the employee of a party, cannot be introduced as evidence in a proceeding unless all the other parties to the proceeding consent or the judge orders it.

6. Offences - The party to the oath must be present and appear before the Commissioner when the oath is taken. It is a criminal offence to use a blank affidavit. The penalty on conviction is imprisonment.

7. Limitation of Authority - Commissioners may only take oaths, affidavits, declarations and affirmations for use in Nova Scotia.

8. Fee - The fee for administering an oath is $19.35 (as of April 1, 2013).