What is an affidavit and when will it be used?

Affidavit

An affidavit is a written statement from an individual which is sworn to be true – it is essentially an oath that what they are saying is the truth. An affidavit will be used along with witness statements to prove the truthfulness of a certain statement in court.

Personal knowledge of the individual

The contents of an affidavit reflect the personal knowledge of the individual making the statement. This means that someone cannot be penalised for failing to include information which they were not aware of.

This personal knowledge can include personal opinion rather than fact; however, it must be stated that this is opinion not fact.

Who can offer an affidavit?

Any individual can offer an affidavit as long as they have the mental capacity to understand the seriousness of the oath.

Can an affidavit ever be offered on behalf of an individual?

In certain cases an affidavit can be offered on behalf of someone else, for example a guardian can submit one for an individual who is severely mentally ill.

What happens if an individual knowingly makes a false affidavit?

If an individual knowingly makes a false a statement in an affidavit they commit an offence of perjury or contempt of court and could be fined or imprisoned.

In what circumstances will I be required to use an affidavit?

The most common times which an individual will be required to use an affidavit is in the following circumstances:

However, an affidavit can be a required piece of documentation in any dispute before a court.

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For more information on:

  • When will I know if I am required to use an affidavit?
  • How must I complete an affidavit?
  • Is there a requirement that the affidavit be witnessed?
  • Will I be charged a fee for my affidavit to be sworn?
  • Ensure the information contained in the affidavit is correct