Affidavits and statutory declarations

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

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 witness.

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 Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 to witness affidavits and statutory declarations.

The following classifications in the public service, listed in Regulation 5 of the Evidence (Affidavits and Statutory Declarations) Regulations 2008, are authorised to witness affidavits and statutory declarations:

  • non-executive employee (VPS-2 and above)
  • solicitor, senior solicitor, principal solicitor and principal solicitor (team leader)
  • executive level (1,2,3)
  • principal scientist or principal scientist level PS-1 and PS-2
  • child protection practitioner CPP2-6 inclusive
  • children youth and families CYF2-6 inclusive
  • health and community services worker HCS2 to HCS5 inclusive
  • housing services officer HS
  • senior medical adviser SMA
  • disability development and support officer DDS04 to DDS09 (inclusive)
  • custodial officers COG4 to COG6 (inclusive).

Statutory declarations

  • Prepare the statutory declaration. Forms for making a Victorian statutory declaration are available on the Department of Justice and Regulation 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. Number and sign the foot of each page.
  • Ask the authorised witness to sign the statutory declaration.
  • Declare the contents to be truthful in the presence of the authorised witness by saying aloud, ‘I solemnly and sincerely declare that the contents of this declaration are true and correct and that this declaration is signed with my true name and signature.’
  • If the statutory declaration has been pre-signed, either resign the document in the presence of the witness or prepare a fresh document.

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 witness to witness you signing the affidavit.
  • Sign the affidavit in the presence of the authorised witness. Number and sign the foot of each page.
  • Initial any alterations 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.

Authorised witness tasks

  • For an affidavit, 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 declarant or deponent understands the content of the statutory declaration or affidavit and the nature of the oath/affirmation.
  • Ensure the declarant or deponent signs the statutory declaration or affidavit before the declaration, oath or affirmation is taken.
  • For an affidavit, after signing, ask the deponent to either swear on oath or affirm the document.
  • If the practitioner chooses to swear their affidavit, ask the deponent to hold the religious text (Bible, New or Old Testament, Koran or other relevant religious text) in their hand and say the following oath: ‘I swear (or promise) by Almighty God (or the God recognised in their religion) that this is my name and handwriting and that the contents of this, my affidavit, are true and correct in every particular.’
    • 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) that this is my name and handwriting and that the contents of this, my affidavit, are true and correct in every particular and these are the exhibits referred to therein.’
  • If the practitioner chooses the non-religious option of affirming an affidavit, ask the deponent to say: ‘I solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that this is my name and handwriting and that the contents of this, my affidavit, are true and correct in every particular.’
    • If the affidavit contains exhibits (attachments), the affirmation must be modified to: ‘I solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that this is my name and handwriting and that the contents of this, my affidavit, are true and correct in every particular and these are the exhibits referred to therein.’
  • Sign the statutory declaration or affidavit as the authorised witness. Next to your signature, print, ‘Child protection practitioner CPP 5 (or relevant position). A person who holds a prescribed classification in the Public Service of Victoria’

Supervisor tasks

  • Provide support and supervision.
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