Affidavits & statutory declarations

Affidavits and statutory declarations are examples where you set out your evidence in a written form and sign in front of a person who is authorised to take declarations and administer oaths.

An affidavit, setting out your evidence, may be either sworn on oath or by way of affirmation before an authorised person.  An oath is sworn on a religious book such as the Bible or Qur’an. An affirmation is an oral statement declaring that the written contents are true, instead of taking an oath

A statutory declaration is a written statement signed in front of an authorised person and declared to be true.

What an affidavit & statutory declaration must have

An affidavit must:

  • contain all the written evidence that you want to present
  • be written in the first person (for example, ‘I saw…’, ‘he said to me…’)
  • have your full name, what you do for a job and your address.
  • be signed by you. Where there is more than one page, all the pages, except the one where you sign, must also be initialled.
  • Any alterations must also be initialled

You must not sign the affidavit or statutory declaration until you are with the person who will take your oath.

If you have extra evidence to include

If an affidavit refers to any additional documents, you must attach those documents. These extra documents are called exhibits. 

Swearing, affirming & witnessing

Before any document is sworn, affirmed or witnessed before an authorised person you should check that you’ve included all the information you want to present as evidence, and that the information is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.

How to find an authorised person

You can ask a person from any of the following groups to complete your affidavit and/or to witness your signature on a statutory declaration:

  • Court Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District or High Court
  • Justice of the Peace
  • an enrolled barrister or solicitor.

Some overseas documentation must be sworn before a person called a Notary Public. This will be shown in the statement at the end of the document. In these circumstances there may be a fee payable to the Notary Public. They aren’t court staff so you’ll need to find them yourself.

Notary public website (external link)

If you’ve made a mistake in an affidavit

If you’ve sworn or affirmed an affidavit and you realise that it contains a mistake, you should contact the court immediately and ask them what to do. Normally you will be asked to complete a further affidavit, called a second or supplementary affidavit, that corrects the first one.

What could happen if you don’t tell the truth

You commit the offence of perjury and are liable to a sentence of imprisonment if you knowingly swear or affirm a false affidavit.