Can a spouse/partner administer a statutory declaration?

My spouse/partner is a practising solicitor in a different firm. Can they administer a statutory declaration?

Statutory declarations, like oaths, should not be administered by a solicitor in any proceedings in which that solicitor represents any of the parties or is interested. This is supported among other things by the Legal Services Act 2007 section 183 (3).

Whether ‘interested’ extends to a spouse of a solicitor who is instructed in the proceedings depends on the precise facts of each case, however, this is the current guidance available:

Institute for Legal Executive guidance for Fellows administering oaths:

“It is not necessarily improper for a Fellow to administer an oath to his or her spouse, who is also a Fellow, arising out of a matter connected with that spouse’s practice or employment as a Fellow. It should nevertheless be borne in mind that, whilst there is nothing inherently unprofessional in this, doubts may arise as to the impartiality of the Fellow administering the oath and this may lead to a challenge to the admissibility of the affidavit. However, Fellows should not administer an oath to his or her spouse arising out of a personal matter to that spouse (for example, a claim for damages for personal injury suffered by that spouse) if, by reason of their personal relationship, it could be said that the Fellow administering the oath has an interest in the proceedings.”

The City of London Law Society's Land Law Committee minutes of its meeting on 27 March 2020 state:

“One option is for a solicitor to do this on the tenant’s behalf before an independent adult family/household member who is a solicitor with a practising certificate. The tenant’s authority should come from a director of the company or be evidenced by a Board minute. Or a simple declaration can be used if there is at least 14 days between the warning notice and the point of contractual commitment.” 

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

Have you got a practice question? Call the Practice Advice Service on 020 7320 5675 or email practiceadvice@lawsociety.org.uk

The Practice Advice Service is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS