An affidavit is a written statement that has been sworn to be true. Affidavits are used as additional evidence, for example in conjunction with witness statements in court.
If you make an affidavit, you are said to "offer" it, even though a court might compel you to swear one.
Who can offer an affidavit?
Anyone who has sufficient mental capacity to understand the implications of making this type of oath can make affidavit.
Sometimes, where somebody lacks mental capacity, affidavit can be offered on their behalf. However this is relatively uncommon.
What is in an affidavit?
The text of an affidavit is a record of the knowledge and beliefs of the person offering it. Because the content could contain personal opinion rather than fact, and because some facts could be omitted either because they have been forgotten, or because the individual was not aware of them, you are not accountable for failing to include information of which you are not aware.
In what circumstances could an affidavit be used?
Affidavits are used in any dispute that is taken before a court. If you are required to offer one, the court will give you instructions on what to do.
Commonly, they are used in:
- undefended divorce proceedings
- disputes over inheritance or ownership of property
- disputes over debts, such as when a statutory demand is made
Writing an affidavit
if you knowingly make a false statement in an affidavit, then you are in contempt of court. If you are found out by the court, you can be punished.
Because of this, when completing an affidavit you must be very careful that you set out the facts or your account of the events accurately. We advise that you re-read your statement once you have written it to make sure that it is complete and true. If there are any errors, you must change them before you swear an oath, regardless of the consequences or inconvenience to others of correcting them.
Execution of an affidavit
Usually an affidavit is signed in front of a solicitor, notary public, judicial officer or someone else who is commissioned to receive oaths.
In most cases, an affidavit is sworn with a signature acting as a record of that swearing.
The witness confirms that the person making the oath and signing the document is the person who has been recorded as offering the affidavit.
Solicitors usually charge a fee for witnessing and swearing the statement. If the affidavit is made at court, then there is no cost.
Please note that the information provided on this page:
- Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
- Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
- Does not create a contractual relationship;
- Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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