The two of the important elements of a legal system are ‘affidavits’ and ‘statutory declaration,’ which have different meanings and implications. A commissioner is the authorized person to verify both affidavits and statutory declaration so that they can be used as evidence in a legal proceeding.
What is the Purpose of Affidavits and Statutory Declarations?
Affidavits and statutory declarations are different written documents; the affidavit is a written statement under oath, while a statutory declaration refers to written statements that the person signs and proclaims to be true. Both the documents are found in deed and used by lawyers as evidence of title.
Both the documents come into use when verifying family relationships or certifying a piece of land in possession of a person for a certain amount of time.
Affidavits are necessary during divorce proceedings, debt cases, and real estate disputes. The statutory declaration, on the other hand, is used for a variety of reasons and purposes, such as
- By an individual when changing his/her name
- By an individual to pronounce his nationality, identity, or marital status
- By a financial company, when transferring money to a particular client or individual
- To authenticate import or export of goods
Affidavit statutory declaration must be signed in front of a notary public, commissioner of oaths, or a solicitor, making the document authentic and used as evidence for different legal cases. An affidavit is a document that is not only signed, but a person also has to swear an oath on his statement, while a statutory declaration is a formal statement but not sworn.
A statutory declaration will not be acceptable or permissible in a foreign jurisdiction unless a notary public signs and verifies it. The notary signs the declaration and goes through the details of the document with the individual.
Both the affidavits and statutory declarations are quite useful and valuable when tacking down family history as the documents contain the birth and death dates of individuals in the family. There are also details of family members who are settled in foreign countries. The main purpose of both affidavits and statutory declarations is to confirm or verify a piece of information.
What is the Difference between Affidavits and Statutory Declarations?
The affidavits and statutory declarations represent information that is deemed true by the person making the statement or signing the document. But a person is making a statement under oath, and any wrongdoing such as perjury or forgery is a violation of the law and results in a penalty and up to five years in prison.
However, the laws regarding affidavits and statutory declarations differ from one state to another.
An affidavit is a legal document that shows that a person has specific information or knowledge about something and making the official declaration. An affidavit is considered as a written testimony in a court of law. In the affidavit, a person states his/her identification and relation with the case at hand.
An affidavit consists of numbered paragraphs with legal terms. Although it is not binding on a person to use legal terms, he/she can state the facts as best as possible.
Once the statement and facts are written, the individual has to sign it in front of a person of authority who can be anyone from a notary public, commissioner of oaths, or attorney. The signature is required so that the court may rule the statement as true and allow it to be used as evidence about a particular matter or case is proceeding.
An affidavit is used along with another witness statement to ascertain the truthfulness of specific information or statement in a court of law. The contents of the affidavit reflect the knowledge or information a person has, but the person must also know the seriousness because if the information testified turns out to be false, then it can lead to penalty and even imprisonment. An affidavit may be required in some instances, which includes
- Divorce proceedings if both the husband and wife agree on a divorce
- Property disputes where a person need to verify on how they got to inherit a certain piece of land
- Debt cases where financial hardships led to debt and the debt is still outstanding
When stating the facts in the affidavit, a person has to clearly remember the facts and write them as they happened because after writing the statement, the person also has to swear the affidavit on an oath. If a person knowingly makes a false affidavit, he will be charged with contempt of court, and it is the discretion of the judge to decide the penalty.
- Statutory declarations
Many experts say that a statutory declaration is a simple form of an affidavit. A person writes a statement in simple language and explains his/her version of events or his/her side of the story. A statutory declaration is required in different legal situations such as divorce, when a co-owner of the property passes away, and in a real estate contract.
Apart from stating a statutory declaration for personal legal matters, a statutory declaration can be given to be used as a reference by a judge when deciding to make a motion on matters such as child custody cases.
Neighbors, bystanders on the streets, teachers, employees at the workplace, and health care professionals who have witnessed the incident or accident can make an official statement by providing a statutory declaration.
The main objective of the statutory declaration is to satisfy legal requirements when there is limited or no other information that can be used as evidence in a legal proceeding. A statutory declaration is required by a person who adopts a new name and wants to apply for a new passport and driving license.
Both the affidavits and statutory declarations are verified by a commissioner of oath, notary public, or legal experts such as attorneys or lawyers. The legal documents are signed only when the commissioner of oath and notary public analyze the information in detail, and the time, place, date, and name of the individual and witnesses are also noted.