Oaths Act


Published: 1912-05-02

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Oaths Act
OATHS [CH.60 – 1



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

OATHS
CHAPTER 60

OATHS

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTIONS

1. Short title.
2. Manner of administering oaths.
3. Swearing with uplifted hand.
4. Declaration when permitted.
5. Declarations and oath taken with uplifted hand to be followed by same results as oath

taken in ordinary form.
6. Prohibition of unauthorised oaths.
7. Confirmation of written instruments.
8. Form of declaration.
9. Fees.
10. Penalty for neglect or refusal to make declaration.
11. Oath of Provost Marshal or returning officer.
12. Juror’s oath, civil causes.
13. Juror’s oath, criminal trial; felonies.
14. Oath of witness – civil causes.
15. Oath on the voire dire.
16. Oath of witness – criminal trials.
17. Oath of interpreter.
18. Interpreter may be sworn on the voire dire.
19. Oath of interpreter for conducting arraignment of accused person.
20. Oath of interpreter in criminal trial.
21. Interpreters and form of oath where witness and prisoner are foreigners of different

languages.
22. Presiding judge to declare manner of swearing interpreter.
23. New trial by reason of incompetence of interpreter.


OATHS [CH.60 – 3



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

CHAPTER 60

OATHS

An Act relating to oaths in judicial and other
proceedings and to prescribe the mode in which such oaths
may be administered.

[Commencement 22nd May, 1912]
1. This Act may be cited as the Oaths Act.
2. (1) An oath may be administered and taken in

the form and manner following: The person taking the oath
shall stand and shall hold the New Testament or in the case
of a Jew the Old Testament in his uplifted right hand and
shall say or repeat after the person administering the oath
the words “I swear by Almighty God that” followed by the
words of the oath prescribed by law.

(2) The person having authority to administer the
oath shall (unless the person about to take the oath
voluntarily objects thereto or is physically incapable of so
taking the oath) administer the oath in the form and manner
aforesaid without question:

Provided that in the case of a person who is neither a
Christian nor a Jew the oath shall be administered in any
manner which is now lawful.

3. Any person to whom an oath is administered
may, if he so desires, swear with uplifted hand. The person
swearing in this manner shall swear standing and holding
up his right hand and shall repeat the words of the oath
after the officer administering it. The oath shall commence
“I swear by Almighty God as I shall answer to God at the
great day of judgment,” and shall proceed with the words
of the oath or the substance thereof as prescribed by law,
but omitting any further words of imprecation or calling to
witness.

10 of 1912
40 of 1964
5 of 1987
10 of 1912
40 of 1964
5 of 1987

Short title.
Manner of
administering
oaths.

Swearing with
uplifted hand.

CH.60 – 4] OATHS





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

4. Where any person is required or called upon, either
by any rule of the common law or by any Act to take an
oath, if he objects from alleged conscientious reasons to
take it, or if he is ignorant of the nature of an oath, or if it
is objected that he is incompetent to take it, the judge or
any other person having authority to administer the oath
may permit him to make a solemn affirmation or
declaration in substitution for the oath; and thereupon he
shall not be required to use the word “swear” or the words
“So help me God,” but shall, in lieu thereof, solemnly,
sincerely and truly affirm and declare the truth of that
which he would otherwise have to swear to, or, as the
case may be, that he will do and act as required by the
oath for which the affirmation or declaration is substi-
tuted.

5. (1) In all cases in which an oath is required to be
taken by or administered to any person, either by any rule
or by any Act, either as a juryman, witness, deponent,
party, judge, arbitrator, officer or any other person, either
in any civil or criminal proceedings, or on any occasion
whatsoever a solemn affirmation or declaration may be
made by the persons and in the manner by section 4 of this
Act detailed in lieu of the oath, or the oath may be taken in
the manner mentioned in sections 2 and 3 of this Act; and
the same consequences and results shall in every respect
follow and take place from the making of the affirmation
or declaration or the taking of the oaths in the manner
mentioned in sections 2 to 4 of this Act inclusive, as would
follow and take place if the ordinary oath had been taken.

(2) In all cases in which the affirmation or declaration
is substituted for the taking of an oath, it shall be the duty of
the judge or other person having authority to administer the
oath, before allowing the affirmation or declaration to be
made, to satisfy himself that the person about to make it
understands the consequences and results aforesaid.

6. (1) It shall not be lawful for any justice of the
peace, magistrate or coroner to administer or cause or
allow to be received any oath, solemn declaration or
affidavit touching any matter or thing whereof he has not
jurisdiction or cognizance by some rule of the common law
or any Act in force at the time.

Declaration
when permitted.

Declaration and
oath taken with
uplifted hand to
be followed by
same results as
oath taken in
ordinary form.

Prohibition of
unauthorised
oaths.

5 of 1987, Sch.

OATHS [CH.60 – 5



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

(2) Nothing herein shall be construed to extend to any
oath, solemn declaration, or affidavit before any justice of the
peace or magistrate in any matter or thing touching the
preservation of the peace, nor to any solemn declaration or
affidavit which may be required by any Act by the laws of
any other country to give validity to instruments in writing
designed to be used out of The Bahamas.

7. Whenever the confirmation of a written
instrument is required, or allegation or proof of debts or of
the execution of deeds or other matters, it shall be lawful
for any other person now by law authorised to administer
an oath to take and receive the declaration of any person
voluntarily making it before him.

8. Except where otherwise directed, a declaration
shall be made in the following form —

“I, ..................................., do solemnly and sincerely declare
that, etc., and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously
believing it to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the
Oaths Act.”

9. Whenever any declaration shall be made and
subscribed by any person in pursuance of the provisions of
any Act all and every such fees as would have been due
and payable on the taking or making any legal oath, solemn
affirmation or affidavit shall be in like manner due and
payable upon making and subscribing such declaration.

10. If any person permitted by any Act to make a
declaration instead of an oath refuses or neglects to make
such declaration, he shall be subject to the same penalties
and disabilities, if any, as he would have been subject to
for refusing or neglecting to take the oath for which the
declaration is substituted.

11. (1) Any person appointed or called upon to
exercise duties similar to those of Provost Marshal or
returning officer at an election shall before entering upon
his duties take the following oath before a magistrate, and
every magistrate is hereby empowered to administer the
oath:

“I, .........................................., do swear that I will discharge
my duties at the election now about to take place, fairly and
impartially, without favour or affection, malice or hatred, and
according to the best of my judgment. So help me God.”

5 of 1987, Sch.

Confirmation of
written
instruments.

Form of declara-
tion.

Fees.

Penalty for ne-
glect or refusal to
make
declaration.

Oath of Provost
Marshal or re-
turning officer.

CH.60 – 6] OATHS





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(2) Any person failing to take the oath or failing to
perform his duties in the matter mentioned therein shall be
liable, if convicted upon information in the Supreme
Court, to a fine of two thousand dollars.

12. Jurors may be sworn in civil causes in open court
in the following form or to the like effect:

“You shall well and truly try the issues joined between the
parties (or, assess the damage herein), and a true verdict give
according to the evidence. So help you God.”

13. (1) Jurors may be sworn in criminal trials, in
felonies, in open court in the following form or to the like
effect:

“You shall well and truly try and true deliverance make,
between Our Sovereign Lady the Queen and the prisoner at
the bar whom you shall have in charge, and a true verdict
give according to the evidence. So help you God.”
(2) Jurors may be sworn in criminal trials, in

misdemeanours, in open court in the following form or to
the like effect:

“You shall well and truly try the issue (or issues), joined
between Our Sovereign Lady the Queen and the defendant,
and a true verdict give according to the evidence. So help
you God.”
Oath of jurors on being permitted to separate on

adjournment in cases of felony.
(3) Whenever upon the trial of a criminal case not

capital in which the charge is one of felony the judge shall
decide to permit the jury trying such case to depart from
the court during any adjournment of such trial, such jurors
shall not be permitted so to depart from the court until
they shall have first taken in open court the following
oath to be administered to such jurors by the Registrar of
the Supreme Court:

“You swear that during any adjournment of the trial of the
issue joined between Our Sovereign Lady the Queen (or as the
case may be) and the prisoner at the bar which you and your
fellows are empanelled and sworn to try, you will not whilst
separated, or until you shall be again assembled in court, speak
with or listen to, or hold any communication with any person
whomsoever other than your fellows empanelled with you
touching the said issue, or any matter relative to the trial
thereof; And that upon the termination of every adjournment
thereof you will again come into this court. So help you God.”

5 of 1987. s. 2.

Jurors’ oath, civil
causes.

Jurors’ oath,
criminal trial;
felonies.

Misdemeanours.

OATHS [CH.60 – 7



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(4) If any juror shall refuse to take the said oath, his
refusal shall not prevent the separation and departure of so
many of the jurors as shall have taken the said oath; but the
juror or jurors so refusing shall be kept during such
adjournment by the proper officers sworn in the usual
manner neither themselves to speak to, nor to permit any
other person to hold any communication with such juror or
jurors touching any matter relative to the issue wherewith
they are charged at such trial.

14. Witnesses may be sworn in civil causes in open
court in the following form or to the like effect:
“The evidence which you shall give to the court and jury sworn
touching the matters in question between the parties shall be the
truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help you
God.”

15. Any person may be sworn on the voire dire in the
following form or to the like effect:

“You shall true answer make to all questions as the court
shall demand of you. So help you God.”

16. Witnesses may be sworn on the criminal trials in
open court in the following form or to the like effect:

“The evidence which you shall give to the court and jury
sworn between Our Sovereign Lady the Queen and the
prisoner at the bar (or, the defendant), shall be the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help you God.”

17. Interpreters may be sworn in civil causes in open
court in the following form or to the like effect:

“You swear that you understand the language of the witness
(or, plaintiff, or, defendant), and are able to interpret between
him and the court and jury sworn and all persons conversant
with the English language. So help you God.”
“You shall well and truly interpret and true explanation make
between the witness (or, plaintiff or, defendant), and the court
and jury sworn, and all persons conversant with the English
language, and to the best of your knowledge, skill and ability,
the evidence you shall give to the court and jury sworn
touching the matters in question shall be the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth. So help you God.”

Refusal of juror
to take oath not
to affect separa-
tion of other
jurors.

Oath of witness –
civil causes.

Oath on the voire
dire.

Oath of witness –
criminal trials.

Oath of
interpreter.

CH.60 – 8] OATHS





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

18. Interpreters may be sworn in civil causes in open
court to interpret on the voire dire in the following form or
to the like effect:

“You swear that you understand the language of the witness
(or, plaintiff, or, defendant), and are able to interpret between
him and all persons conversant with the English language. So
help you God.”
“You shall well and truly interpret and true explanation make
between the witness (or plaintiff, or, defendant), and the court
and all persons conversant with the English language, to the
best of your knowledge, skill, and ability, and shall true answer
make to all such questions as the court shall demand of you. So
help you God.”
19. Interpreters may be sworn in open court for the

purpose of conducting the arraignment of any person
accused, in the following form or to the like effect:

“You swear that you understand the language of the prisoner
at the bar, and are able to interpret between him and the court.
So help you God.”
“You shall well and truly interpret and true explanation make
between the prisoner at the bar and the court to the best of
your knowledge, skill and ability, and you shall true answer
make to all such questions as the court shall demand of you.
So help you God.”
And whenever on the trial of such person it may be

necessary to examine a witness who does not speak the
English language on the voire dire, the interpreter’s oath
may be in form given in section 17 of this Act, or to the like
effect, retaining the word “witness” throughout.

20. Interpreters may be sworn for the purposes of a
criminal trial in open court in the following form or to the
like effect:

“You swear that you understand the language of the prisoner at
the bar (or, the defendant), and are able to interpret between him
and the court and the jury sworn, and between him and all
persons conversant with the English language. So help you
God.”
“You shall well and truly interpret and true explanation make
between the prisoner at the bar (or, the defendant), and the
court and jury sworn, to the best of your knowledge, skill and
ability, and the evidence which you shall give to the court and
jury sworn between Our Sovereign Lady the Queen and the
prisoner at the bar (or, the defendant), shall be the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help you God.”

Interpreter may
be sworn on the
voire dire.

Oath of inter-
preter for con-
ducting arraign-
ment of accused
person.

Oath of inter-
preter in criminal
trial.

OATHS [CH.60 – 9



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

“You swear that you understand the language of the witness,
and are able to interpret between him and the court, and the
jury sworn, and the prisoner and all persons conversant with
the English language. So help you God.”
“You shall well and truly interpret and true explanation
make between the witness and the court and jury sworn, and
the prisoner and all persons conversant with the English
language, and the evidence which you shall give to the court
and jury sworn between Our Sovereign Lady the Queen and
the prisoner at the bar, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth. So help you God.”

Provided that when the witness and the prisoner are
foreigners of different languages, and the interpreter is
unable to interpret to the prisoner, the reference to the
prisoner shall be omitted, and an additional interpreter
sworn to interpret the English interpretation of the first
interpreter to the prisoner.

21. When on any criminal trial a witness and the
prisoner are foreigners of different languages, and a foreign
interpreter can be found conversant with the languages of
the prisoner and the witness, and able to interpret between
them, and a second interpreter can be found conversant
with English and with any language with which the first
interpreter is conversant, and able to interpret from the last
named language into English, the first interpreter may be
sworn through the second interpreter, in open court, in the
following form, or to the like effect:

“You swear that you understand the several languages of the
witness and the prisoner and are able to interpret between
them. So help you God.”
“You shall well and truly interpret and true explanation make,
between the witness and the prisoner at the bar, and the
prisoner at the bar and the witness, and between them and
each of them and the court and jury sworn, and all interpreters,
witnesses and persons whatsoever, to the best of your
knowledge, and skill and ability, and the evidence which you
shall give to the court and the jury sworn between Our
Sovereign Lady the Queen and the prisoner at the bar, shall be
the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help
you God.”

Interpreters and
form of oath
where witness
and prisoner are
foreigners of dif-
ferent languages.

CH.60 – 10] OATHS





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

And whatever be the number of interpreters necessary before the
statements of the prisoner and the witness can be interpreted into one and
the same language and into English, the same forms of oath shall be
administered mutatis mutandis to each interpreter in succession, and the
like provision shall apply in civil causes as far as may be.

22. If it appears to the presiding judge in any
criminal proceedings that the person called as interpreter
understands the language of the accused or other person,
between whom and the court he is called to interpret,
sufficiently to be able to make true explanation of the
evidence and other proceedings, but that he cannot for any
cause be sworn in the form and manner herein prescribed,
it shall be the duty of the presiding judge to declare in what
manner he shall be sworn or otherwise bound to make true
declaration; and it shall in that case be the further duty of
the presiding judge to ascertain that true explanation of the
evidence and all other proceedings is made to the accused
person; and, if the presiding judge is satisfied that true
explanation is so made, the trial, and any verdict given
thereat, shall be as valid as if the interpreter had been
sworn in the ordinary manner.

23. If on any trial for a criminal offence it appears to
the presiding judge, after the accused has been given in
charge to the jury, that true explanation of the evidence
cannot by reason of the incompetence of any interpreter be
made to the accused, he shall not by reason thereof be
entitled to be acquitted, but it shall be the duty of the
presiding judge to discharge the jury from giving any
verdict, and the accused shall be liable to be again tried as
if the first trial had not been commenced

Presiding judge
to declare man-
ner of swearing
interpreter.

New trial by rea-
son of incompe-
tence of
interpreter.

Related Laws

1927 Penal Code