Law Society reminds members of oath administration procedures

President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly
President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly

The Law Society of Ireland has reminded its solicitor members of the proper procedure for administering an oath, which requires a Bible or religious text where there is not an objection on religious grounds.

The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, recently impressed the importance of correct procedure while speaking in court, prompting the Law Society to circulate an eZine on the topic.

However, the Law Society distanced itself from a Sunday Independentreport that claimed it had “warned its solicitor members that they must always carry a copy of the Bible and the Koran”.

Instead, it said it wanted to make sure solicitors understood how seriously Mr Justice Kelly regarded the rules.

A spokesperson told Irish Legal News: “The law states that a bible or other religious text appropriate to the deponent’s religious belief must be produced for the deponent when an oath is being administered.

“It is only in the context of an objection to religious swearing that a person is permitted to affirm instead of swearing an oath. The Law Society has published practice notes and guidelines for solicitors about the necessity to observe the legal requirements around oath-swearing.

“Oaths are generally administered in solicitors’ offices, where a copy of the bible should be available. With regard to other acceptable religious texts, see the Report on Oaths and Affirmations published by the Law Reform Commission in 1990, which gives an overview of the position.”

The Report on Oaths and Affirmations is available from the Law Reform Commission’s website.

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