We can also sign ‘Peace Commissioner’ type documents – We travel to you – Open evenings

08. Foreign Documents

Can we sign documents that are being sent abroad / overseas / outside of Ireland?

In practice, the answer is mostly yes for English speaking countries where the office of ‘Commissioner for Oaths’ / ‘Commissioner of Oaths’ also exists, and no for countries where English is not the main language. Ultimately, it depends on what a particular foreign authority will accept.

Oftentimes a document that needs to be signed will be accompanied by an instruction sheet outlining which ‘witnesses’ are acceptable. The problem that frequently is seen is that such a list is drawn up with the intention that the document is being signed within the foreign country in question, so lists can often be of little comfort. Titles vary globally.

The signature of Mr David O’Sullivan Cork Commissioner for Oaths has been accepted by multiple authorities in English speaking countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and other countries beyond Ireland.

Let’s now look at some wording commonly encountered. Most documents are written with the understanding that they are going to be signed in their own country.

For example:

* A document from the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales etc.) Might refer to the need for a “counter signature” or to be “counter signed”.
Is our signature acceptable?
Yes
we can sign documents for the UK. For your convenience, to reduce queries for you, we will provide a ‘to whom it may concern’ letter confirming this is the case, quoting UK law.

 

* A document from New Zealand might ask for the signature of a Justice of the Peace. Is our signature acceptable?
Yes
we can sign documents for New Zealand. For your convenience, to reduce queries for you, we will provide a ‘to whom it may concern’ letter confirming this is the case, quoting NZ law.

 

* A document from Australia
might refer to needing a signature of a “Justice of the Peace” or “Commissioner for Declarations” or an “Authorised Witness”.
Is our signature acceptable?
Yes
we can sign documents for all states and territories, but not the overall  Commonwealth of Australia. For your convenience, to reduce queries for you, we will provide a ‘to whom it may concern’ letter confirming this is the case, quoting AU law.

 

* A document from Canada might refer to a “Commissioner for Taking Affidavits” or “Commissioner for Taking Oaths”
Is our signature acceptable?
Yes
we can sign documents for Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Alberta
Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut.
For your convenience, to reduce queries for you, we will provide a ‘to whom it may concern’ letter confirming this is the case, quoting CA law. A benefit of using our service in relation to Saskatchwean is that – because we would sign using our Saskatchewan title – your document will not need any legalisation attesting to the genuineness of our signature. This will save you at least €40 and the hassle of sending your document to the Canadian Embassy in Dublin.

 

* A document from South Africa might refer to a “Commissioner of Oaths” or “Kommissaris van Ede”.
Is our signature acceptable?
it depends on the document and agency

 

* A document from the United States might call for a “Notarization”, or to be “Notarized” by a US “Notary Public” or US “Public Notary” or Lawyer or Attorney. We do not sign documents for use in the USA.
Is our signature acceptable?
Yes, we can sign ‘Notary Public’ type documents for the State of New Hampshire, but not any other US States. A benefit of using our service is that – because we would sign using our US title – your document will not need an Apostille attesting to the genuineness of our signature. This will save you €40 and the hassle of visiting the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs to deliver and collect your document.

Sometimes documents written by laypersons might even refer to jumbled offices which don’t actually exist such as a “Commissioner of the Peace” or “Commissioner of the Oaths” or “Oaths Commissioner”. Occasionally, older Irish documents might refer to “a Commissioner to administer Oaths for the High Court” or “a Commissioner for administering oaths in the Supreme Court”.

While the terms above vary they all essentially refer to “a person authorised by law to administer an oath” or “a person authorised by law to take and receive an Affidavit or Statutory Declaration”. In Ireland, the title for such a person is a “Commissioner for Oaths”. The laws of many countries accept that when a document is being signed outside of their own borders it can be signed by a person who is authorised to administer oaths in that foreign place. (i.e. the signature and stamp of Mr David O’Sullivan Cork Commissioner for Oaths would be acceptable).

Staying, temporarily, with the topic of Ireland: Documents which need the signature of a Peace Commissioner can also be signed by Mr David O’Sullivan Commissioner for Oaths.

Sometimes a document will call for the signature of a Practising Solicitor / Practising Solicitor, if that document is a ‘Statutory Declaration’ or an ‘Affidavit’ then it can be signed by Mr David O’Sullivan Commissioner for Oaths even if the document itself does not state this.

Now, let us look abroad again, documents which appear to need the signature of an Irish Notary Public can also in many cases also be signed by Mr David O’Sullivan Commissioner for Oaths. If we can sign your document we will, and if we cannot then we will suggest the name of another service provider who may be able to assist you.

Apostille / Legalisation

If a document is to be sent outside Ireland then sometimes the person / party to whom it is being sent might ask that it is “Apostilled” or “Legalised” before it leaves Ireland. These are two different streams, and are both are optional extra steps followed after a person/ agency in Ireland has signed or stamped a document.

Apostille

A Document signed by Mr David O’Sullivan Commissioner for Oaths can have an Apostille affixed to it, and that will be acceptable in certain countries. Some foreign agencies who ask for an “Apostille” will expect to see the term “Notary Public” – and not “Commissioner for Oaths” – on a document.

Legalisation

However, if your document requires “Legalisation” then we suggest you instead visit a Notary Public. A Notary Public is a person who specialises in signing foreign documents. The Faculty of Notaries Public in Ireland does not publish a list of fees, but it is generally understood that a Commissioner for Oaths tends to be cheaper per document on a like-for-like basis. Most foreign agencies who ask for “Legalisation” will expect to see the term “Notary Public” – and not “Commissioner for Oaths” – on a document.