Doll, law, miniature

“so help me god” teeny tiny barrister mouse & oaths of honesty


Check out this teeny tiny lady Esquire, the cutest, wool felt barrister mouse, or judge perhaps, attired & ready for her day in court.

All dressed & ready to orate in her prescribed regalia including, of course, the black robe, powdered wig & white bands (collar) or jabot.




She carries her Bible in readiness for swearing-in the witness in the dock: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me god?”




Of course, these days, in Australia (and each state has its own variations) the oath of honesty, upon giving evidence in a Court of law, could be an oath or an affirmation. Both oaths & affirmations are solemn promises to tell the truth. Oaths are generally sworn by religious or spiritual persons before a deity, whereas affirmations are not made before a deity & are generally made by non-religious persons.

And there is nothing to stop a religious or spiritual person from making an affirmation.

If you lie under an oath or affirmation, you can be charged with perjury.




Oaths of honesty


Society depends on its members having reason to believe that they can trust one another and those who wield power over them. In certain circumstances, the state needs to establish there is reason to believe someone can be trusted for a specific purpose. The oath is an ancient way of establishing such trust.

What is an oath?

In Australia, an oath is a pledge that invokes divine witness.

A pledge is a solemn promise. Pledges arise when I give my word to you as guarantee. “I give you my word” captures the essence of a pledge. Solemnisation of a promise changes the focus from a contract between parties who treat at arm’s length to that of people committed to one another because they stand in a special relationship. Thus, a pledge is not merely a promise. It is a solemn promise. The promise can either be solemnised religiously, in which case it is referred to as an oath, or without reference to religion, in which case it is referred to as an affirmation or declaration.

Historically the pledge’s promise could only be solemnised by invoking God. In time, the affirmation provided a non-religious alternative, although the default position was that an oath should be sworn unless the person in question objected to doing so, in which case an affirmation would be allowed as an exception. Eventually, the oath and affirmation have come to be regarded in law as equally legitimate options.

Recently, the distinction between oaths and affirmations has been dispensed with in some instances, in favour of a single pledge that has interchangeable religious and non-religious solemnisation options. Whichever method is chosen, its purpose is to bind the conscience of the oath-maker.


via SO HELP ME GOD A history of oaths of office, PM Glynn Institute Occasional Paper No.3




In my state, South Australia:

although the witness is required to answer a question, the question to be put to the witness who swears or affirms is not stipulated in law, and so is a matter of convention — the Evidence Act only specifies what the answer to the question must be in each case in s6 of the Evidence Act 1929 Oaths, affirmations etc

(1)         An oath shall be administered and taken as follows:

(a)         the person taking the oath shall hold a copy of the Bible (being a book that contains the New Testament, the Old Testament or both) in his hand and, after the oath has been tendered to him, shall say “I swear”; or

(b)         in any other manner and form which the person taking the oath declares to be binding on his conscience; or

(c)         in any other manner or form authorised or permitted by law.

(2)         Where an oath has been lawfully administered and taken, the fact that the person taking the oath had no religious belief, or that the oath was not taken so as to be binding on his conscience, shall not affect, at law, the validity or effect of the oath.

(3)         A person is permitted, and should be offered the choice, to make an affirmation instead of an oath in all circumstances in which, and for all purposes for which, an oath is required or permitted by law.

(4)         An affirmation is to be administered to a person by asking the person “Do you solemnly and truly affirm” followed by the words of the appropriate oath (omitting any words of imprecation or calling to witness) after which the person must say “I do solemnly and truly affirm”.

(5)         Every affirmation has, at law, the same force and effect as an oath.

(6)         No oath or affirmation is invalid by reason of a procedural or formal error or deficiency.


Moral: tell the truth! . . . the whole truth & nothing but the truth

Anyway enough of that stuff . . .




I believe I found this little lawyer for sale on Ebay or Etsy, or similar, some time ago.  I should have bought her.

From the site at the time:

Tiny wool needle felted posable mouse with white barrister judge wig, black robes, and black bible (book is a wood dummy with cover). Wig and robes removable as they are pinned in place with tiny pins. Great start for your mouse house GREAT GIFT!




Just 5″ or 12.5 cm in height. Bible about 1″ or 2.5cm in height.

Too cute!


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