Friday, August 05, 2005

Apocrypha (11)

Magistrates are often called upon to witness a Statutory Declaration. Most of the time we hear them in court, but we can do them at home, and I have done them in the pub before now.

The formal declaration goes:-

'I (name) do solemnly and sincerely declare that the contents of this my declaration are true. And I make this declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835.'

The person making the declaration then signs it, and the magistrate does the same. It is usual before putting pen to paper to warn that a wilfully false declaration may lead to a charge of perjury. I like to say 'I am not signing this to say that it's true, but to say that you say it is true'

I have done countless numbers of these over the years, but they have one thing in common: at least ninety per cent of declarants stumble over the word 'conscientiously'.

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