Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Oaths. An oath is a solemn asseveration made either by writing or word of mouth and attested by such solemnity as is binding on the conscience of the deponent. With Christians this solemnity is kissing the Holy Gospels; but in the case of persons holding conscientious views on the impropriety of oaths altogether, the "Oaths Act, 1888," enacts that every person, on objecting to being sworn and stating as the ground of such objection either that he has no religious belief or that the taking of an oath is contrary to his religious belief, shall be permitted to make his solemn affirmation, instead of taking an oath, in all places and for all purposes, where an oath is or shall be required by law and by the same Act. If an oath has been duly taken, the fact that the person taking it had no religious belief does not affect its validity. Besides this relaxation of the law on the subject, a statutory declaration has been substituted for an oath in non-litigious cases in many instances, but oaths when taken must be taken according to the form of each person's religious persuasion. Before an oath can be administered, it must be shown if any doubts exist that the witness is aware of the sanctity of the oath or, generally, that the Almighty will punish falsehood. Promissory oaths are those required to be taken by persons on their appointment to certain offices, as the oath of allegiance, of which the present form is: - "I, _____, do swear that I will be faithful, and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, her heirs, and successors, according to law." These oaths have been lately much revised. The Parliamentary Oaths Act, 1866, requires the oath of allegiance to be taken by members of Parliament before sitting or voting. The administering of unlawful oaths is an offence against the Government and punishable by penal servitude. Taking a false oath is perjury.