Affidavits and statutory declarations

Follow this procedure when making and witnessing statutory declarations or affidavits.

Document ID number 1226, version 3, 22 May 2019.

Introduction

A statutory declaration is a written document signed by a person (the declarant) who declares that its contents are true and correct before an authorised witness.

A person who makes a statutory declaration that contains false information is liable to be prosecuted for perjury.

An affidavit is a written document signed by a person (the deponent) who swears on oath or makes an affirmation that its contents are true and correct before an authorised affidavit taker.

Affidavits are usually used in legal proceedings.

It is a criminal offence to take oath or affirm a false affidavit.

Examples of affidavits in child protection include:

  • affidavit of service
  • affidavit in support of a Children’s Court search warrant
  • affidavits in Family Court proceedings.

Procedures

Case practitioner tasks

There are numerous classes of people who are authorised under the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 to take affidavits and witness statutory declarations.

The following classifications in the public service, listed in section 19 of the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018, are authorised to take affidavits and witness statutory declarations:

Authorised affidavit takers - public service employee with a classification of level 4 (CPP/VPS 4) or equivalent or above. A full list of authorised affidavit takers is located on the Department of Justice and Community Safety website.

Authorised statutory declaration witnesses - public service employee with a classification of level 2 (CPP/VPS 2) or equivalent or above. A full list of authorised statutory declaration witnesses  is located on the Department of Justice and Community Safety website.

Statutory declarations

  • Prepare the statutory declaration. Forms for making a Victorian statutory declaration are available on the Department of Justice and Community Safety website.
  • Ensure the declaration contains an acknowledgement that it is true and correct and made in the belief that a person making a false declaration is liable for penalties of perjury.
  • Sign the statutory declaration before an authorised witness. Sign or initial at the foot of each page and next to any alteration to the statutory declaration that has occurred before making the declaration.
  • If the statutory declaration refers to a separate document, you must sign a certificate attached to the document identifying it as an exhibit to the statutory declaration.
  • Declare the contents to be truthful in the presence of the authorised witness by saying aloud, I [ your full name] of [address] declare that the contents of this statutory declaration are true and correct.’
  • Sign and date the last page. If the statutory declaration has been pre-signed, either resign the document in the presence of the witness or prepare a fresh document.
  • Ask the authorised witness to sign and write, type or stamp their name, personal or professional address and their qualification as a statutory declaration witness.

Affidavits

  • Prepare the affidavit. Ensure the document is neat and does not contain any blank spaces that could be filled in after swearing or affirming.
  • Ask an authorised affidavit taker to witness you signing the affidavit.
  • Sign the affidavit in the presence of the authorised affidavit taker. Sign the foot of each page.
  • Sign or initial any alterations, made to the affidavit before  being sworn or affirmed, to the affidavit.
  • Swear or affirm the affidavit.
  • If alterations are made to the affidavit after it has been sworn or affirmed, it must be re-sworn or re-affirmed and a new jurat (a new person swearing/affirming clause at the bottom of the page) should be added. This does not have to take place before the same authorised person.
  • If the affidavit refers to a document as an exhibit, sign a certificate attached to the document which identifies it as an exhibit to the affidavit.

Authorised affidavit taker and authorised witness tasks

Statutory declarations

  • Confirm that the declarant understands the content of the statutory declaration and the nature of declaration.
  • Ensure the declarant signs the statutory declaration before the declaration is taken.
  • If the statutory declaration refers to another document, attach a certificate to the document identifying the document as an exhibit to the statutory declaration. Sign and date the certificate, and write, type or stamp your name, address and capacity to take an affidavit.
  • Sign the statutory declaration as the authorised witness. Next to your signature, print, ‘Child protection practitioner CPP 5 (or relevant position) [personal or professional address]. A person who holds a prescribed classification in the Public Service of Victoria’ A person authorised under section 19(1) of the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 to take an affidavit.

Affidavits

  • Examine the document to ensure that it is neat and legible and does not contain any blank spaces that could be filled in after swearing. You are not required to the read the document in detail.
  • Confirm that the deponent understands the content of the affidavit and the nature of the oath/affirmation.
  • Ensure the deponent signs the affidavit before the oath or affirmation is taken.
  • If the affidavit refers to another document, attach a certificate identifying the document as an exhibit to the affidavit.  Sign and date the certificate, and write, type or stamp your name, address and capacity to take an affidavit.
  • After signing, ask the deponent to either swear on oath or affirm the document.
  • If the practitioner chooses to swear their affidavit, they may, but are not required to, hold the religious text relevant to their beliefs in their hand and must then say out loud the following oath: I [name of person making oath] swear (or promise) by Almighty God (or the God recognised in their religion or by reference to their spiritual beliefs) that the contents of this, my affidavit, are true and correct.’
    • If the affidavit contains exhibits (attachments), the oath must be modified to: I swear (or promise) by Almighty God (or the God recognised in their religion or by reference to their spiritual beliefs) that this my affidavit, is true and correct and these are the exhibits referred to therein.’
  • If the practitioner chooses not to refer to their beliefs and instead opts to affirm an affidavit, ask the deponent to say: ‘I [name of person making affirmation] solemnly and sincerely affirm that the contents of this, my affidavit, are true and correct.’
    • If the affidavit contains exhibits (attachments), the affirmation must be modified to: ‘I solemnly and sincerely affirm that the contents of this, my affidavit, are true and correct in every particular and these are the exhibits referred to therein.’
  • Sign and date the affidavit as the authorised affidavit taker. Next to your signature, print, ‘Child protection practitioner CPP 5 (or relevant position) [personal or professional address]. A person who holds a prescribed classification in the Public Service of Victoria’.

    Supervisor tasks

    • Provide support and supervision.
    1