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Witnessing of Statutory Declarations
& Affidavits (in Victoria)

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On this page:

  • What statutory declarations and affidavits might be used for
  • Who can witness Statutory Declarations and Affidavits

 

The following notes came from the Department of Justice, and we have reproduced them in an essentially unedited form.

Statutory Declarations

These are used for many purposes, for example:

  • to verify insurance claims
  • proof of age
  • applications for sick leave or various types of benefits, and
  • for many other day to day business or personal matters.


Statutory declarations are made in writing. The person signing it makes a solemn declaration that its contents are true and correct, in the presence of a person who is authorised to witness it. A list of the classes of persons who can witness declarations is provided below.

Affidavits

These are sworn documents that are mostly used in legal proceedings. Affidavits are made in writing. A person making an affidavit must take an oath on the Bible or other religious book, or make an affirmation that the contents are true and correct, in the presence of a person who is authorised to receive affidavits. A list of the classes of persons who can receive affidavits is provided below.

The position of Commissioner for taking Affidavits has been abolished in Victoria since 1990.

There are no fees payable for witnessing documents

W A R N I N G: ANYONE WHO MAKES A FALSE DECLARATION OR AFFIDAVIT IS LIABLE TO FACE CRIMINAL PROSECUTION FOR PERJURY.

Documentation Requirements

The person who witnesses the declaration or receives the affidavit must print, type or stamp his or her name and address below his or her signature.

Any attached documents must also contain these details.

Any alterations or erasures must be initialed by the witness and you.

As there is no legislation regarding the certification of documents, it is up to the body or person who is receiving the document, to determine what standard of certification they require. Documents that are certified as true copies will usually be accepted if they are certified by a person who is authorised to witness statutory declarations and affidavits.

It is preferable for any documents for use interstate to be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor.

Any documents for use overseas should be witnessed by a Notary Public or a Justice of the Peace, depending on the country, as some will only accept the seal of a Notary Public. Check with the relevant Consulate in the phone book, if in doubt. Full lists of Notaries are kept by the Law Institute, tel: (03) 9607 9311; some are also listed in the Yellow Pages.

Finding an Authorised Witness

Persons who can witness documents in Victoria are listed below. It is always best to telephone first to arrange a convenient time in case they are not available. In the evening, often the easiest person to contact is a Justice of the Peace. Lists of these are usually kept by your local Council. The Justices of the Peace Registry also provides a Recorded Information Line for the public who require the services of a JP, in any locality of Victoria. The telephone number is 1300 365 567

Who can witness Statutory Declarations

  • A Justice of the Peace or a Bail Justice
  • A member of the police force
  • A senior officer of a Council as defined in the Local Government Act 1989
  • A councillor of a municipality
  • A legally qualified medical practitioner
  • A dentist
  • A veterinary surgeon
  • A pharmacist
  • A principal in the (State) teaching service
  • The manager of a bank
  • A member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia or the Australian Society of Accountants or the National Institute of Accountants
  • The secretary of a building society
  • A minister of religion authorised to celebrate marriages
  • A barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court
  • A clerk to a barrister and solicitor
  • The Prothonotary or a Deputy Prothonotary of the Supreme Court
  • The Registrar or a Deputy Registrar of the County Court
  • The sheriff or a deputy sheriff
  • A Notary Public
  • The Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the Legal Profession Tribunal
  • A member or a former member of either House of the Parliament of Victoria
  • A member or a former member of either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth
  • A person who holds an office in the public service (of Victoria) that is prescribed as an office of which the holder may witness statutory declarations
  • The Principal Registrar of the Magistrates' Court
  • The Registrar or a Deputy Registrar of the Magistrates' Court
  • The Registrar of Probates or an Assistant Registrar of Probates
  • The Associate to a Judge of the Supreme Court or the County Court
  • The Secretary of a Master of the Supreme Court or of the County Court
  • A person registered as a Patent Attorney under Part XV of the Patents Act 1952 of the Commonwealth
  • A fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives (Victoria)

Who can "receive" (witness) Affidavits

  • A Justice of the Peace or a Bail Justice
  • A Judge or the Associate to any Judge
  • A Master of the Supreme Court or the County Court or the Secretary of such a Master
  • The Prothonotary or a Deputy Prothonotary of the Supreme Court
  • The Registrar or a Deputy Registrar of the Magistrates' Court
  • The Registrar of Probates or an Assistant Registrar of Probates
  • A member or former member of either House of the Parliament of Victoria
  • A member or former member of either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth
  • A Notary Public
  • A fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives (Victoria)
  • A member of the police force of or above the rank of sergeant or for the time being in charge of a police station
  • A person who holds an office in the public service (of Victoria) that is prescribed as an office of which the holder may receive affidavits
  • A senior officer of a Council as defined in the Local Government Act 1989
  • A person registered as a Patent Attorney under Part XV of the Patents Act 1952 of the Commonwealth
  • (Solicitor): A natural person who is a current practitioner or registered interstate practitioner within the meaning of the Legal Practice Act 1996.