Commissioners for Oaths

Following the entries on notaries, I should repeat and slightly enlarge what I wrote about commissioners for oaths, the nearest equivalent in England and Wales to a notary public in the U.S.A. Solicitors automatically become commissioners for oaths when they qualify. In the firm where I was articled, the newest solicitors were allowed to do the witnessing of oaths. I think the charge may have been £5 per document plus £1 for each extra page – all had to be stamped and initialled.

Here is a brief note on commissioners for oaths by a firm of Solicitors and Notaries.I recall the solicitor I shared an office with going out for a very nice lunch after doing a 21-page document. On another occasion, Peter O’Toole came into the office to witness something. This was because we were next-door to a small firm of solicitors that worked for clients in the entertainment industry. One did not witness the signatures of one’s own clients, so we usually went next door.

On other occasions, if I was out with a litigation solicitor and a client who had to swear a statement, he would get it witnessed by whatever firm we happened to pass. Ours was a Jewish firm (I was one of the few in the office on Yom Kippur), and once I recall an East-End solicitor opening the Bible at the beginning of the New Testament and laying it face-down on his table so that our client could lay his hand on the Old Testament only.

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