Oaths and affirmations during COVID-19

An oath is a solemn declaration or undertaking that calls upon God to witness the truthfulness of the statement.  A solemn affirmation is the equivalent of an oath except that it does not call upon God to bear witness. They were introduced as a concession to people who object to taking an oath for religious or other conscientious reasons. Some religions do not accept the use of oaths, and the use of affirmations by people with no religious beliefs is now commonly accepted.

Sometimes people need make an oath or affirmation (also called swearing) in the physical presence of someone who is authorised by law to administer it. They often occur in relation to proceedings before courts and tribunals, but can also occur in other contexts.

Because of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, a temporary regulation allows such oaths or affirmations to be made over video.

This does not apply to oaths of office and oaths of allegiance.

More information

Learn more about these changes in the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response—Documents and Oaths) Regulation 2020.