We originally published this item in the March 2022 issue of LIANSwers. Though it has only been a couple months, we continue to see lawyers swearing affidavits and notarizing documents that we described in the article. Your commission or notarization gives the appearance of legitimacy to these documents. Your commission permits them to be filed with a court in a proceeding. All that we ask is that if someone approaches you to swear an affidavit or notarize a document, especially if the person is otherwise not your client, that you read the material you are being asked to notarize or commission and then decide using your professional judgment whether the document is something you should attach your name to.
From the March 2022 edition of LIANSwers:
As lawyers, many of us make appointments with members of the general public who just want to you witness their signature or notarize a document. Some of us may not necessarily look at what the document is since, after all, you are just swearing a signature and not making any representations as to the content of the document itself. However, it is good practice to take a look at the document.
There is an increase of self represented litigants, and “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Argument” litigants (OPCA) having lawyers swear their signature, notarize a document, or certify that a copy of a document is a true copy of the original, with these self represented litigants then using these documents to pursue legal avenues and claim the documents are proof of something just because a lawyer’s name appears on it. There is an interesting article on the Law Society of Alberta’s website “OPCA Litigants – The Phenomenon of Freemen on the Land“, and is the subject of an Alberta case Meads v. Meads, 2012 ABQB 571. Review the Notaries and Commissioners Act, RSNS 1989, c 312; and other relevant information on the Nova Scotia Commissioners of Oaths page.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to tell someone you will not notarize or swear a document.
LIANSwers v77, September 2022