Oaths and affirmations

[1-600] General oaths and affirmations

Provisions are made in ss 21–24A and Sch 1 Evidence Act 1995 for the oaths and affirmations to be administered to witnesses and interpreters. They are to be in accordance with the appropriate form in Sch 1, or in a similar form. A person appearing as a witness or interpreter may choose whether to take an oath or make an affirmation. The court is to inform the person that he or she has this choice, unless satisfied that the person has already been informed, or knows that there is a choice. It is not necessary that a religious text be used in taking an oath. The form of oath or affirmation taken by children’s champions is set out in cl 111 Criminal Procedure Regulation 2017. See also generally Judicial Commission of NSW, Local Court Bench Book, 2010–, “Oaths” at [88-000]ff.

Oath/affirmation by a witness

[Do you swear by Almighty God/Do you solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm] that the evidence that you shall give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? If so, please say “I do”.

Oath/affirmation by an interpreter

[Do you swear by Almighty God/Do you solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm] that you will well and truly interpret the evidence that will be given and do all other matters and things that are required of you in this case to the best of your ability? If so, please say “I do”.

Oath/affirmation by a children’s champion

[Do you swear by Almighty God/Do you solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm] that you will well and faithfully communicate questions and answers and make true explanation of all matters and things as may be required of you according to the best of your skill and understanding? If so, please say “I do”.

[1-605] Procedure for administering an oath upon the Koran

1. 

Hand the witness the Koran (in its cover).

2. 

Ask the witness to remove the Koran from its cover.

3. 

Ask the witness if he/she recognises the book as a true copy of the Holy Koran.

4. 

Administer the oath.

5. 

Ask the witness to return the Koran to its cover.

[1-610] Oath and affirmation for jurors

Section 72A Jury Act 1977 provides a prescribed manner for a juror’s oath and affirmation. Subsection 72A(5) provides that if an oath is taken in the prescribed manner it is not necessary for a religious text (normally a bible) to be used. Subsection 72A(7) provides that an oath or affirmation not made in accordance with the prescribed manner is not by that reason illegal or invalid.

Oath for jurors

Do you swear by Almighty God that you will give a true verdict according to the evidence? If so, please say “so help me God”.

Affirmation for jurors

Do you solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that you will give a true verdict according to the evidence? If so, please say “I do”.

Oath/affirmation for jurors sworn en masse

Members of the jury, do you swear by Almighty God, or do you solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm, that you will give a true verdict according to the evidence? If so, for those taking an oath please say “so help me God” and for those taking an affirmation please say “I do”.

[1-615] Oaths and affirmations — view

There does not appear to be any prescribed manner and form for oaths and affirmations required in connection with a view. The following are suggested from past practice.

Oath/affirmation: sheriff’s officer

[Do you swear by Almighty God/Do you solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm] that you will well and truly attend this jury to the place at which the offence for which the accused [name] stands charged is alleged to have been committed and that you will not allow anyone to speak to them [ … except the person sworn and appointed to show you the place aforesaid] nor will you speak to them yourself [unless it is to request them to return with you] without the leave of the court? If so, please say “I do”.

Oath/affirmation: shower

[Do you swear by Almighty God/Do you solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm] that you will attend the jury, and well and truly point out to them the place in which the offence for which the accused [name] stands charged is alleged to have been committed and that you will speak to them only as far as relates to describing the place aforesaid? If so, please say “I do”.