By Sabina Rashid, Legal Intern
What is an affidavit?
Often in legal proceedings, parties must sign and be sworn by an oath or affirmation of written statements of facts which can then be used alongside a witness statement as evidence in court. This is known as an affidavit.
An affidavit must be sworn before a person authorised to issue them (a Commissioner for Oaths), such as a solicitor or a notary.
When will I need to use an affidavit?
Affidavits are only used in certain circumstances such as divorce proceedings, debt cases or property matters. Other examples can be to verify your address, claim an inheritance and to record business earnings.
You will be asked to sign an affidavit if needed in any other circumstance where the courts or legislation require you to do so.
Affidavits were used more frequently prior to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) being introduced. Witness statements have now taken their place and are used more often when affidavits are not needed.
How do I complete an affidavit?
To complete an affidavit, you must:
- Title the affidavit and create a statement of identity
The title must tell the reader what the topic is about, followed by the name of the person writing the affidavit. The statement of identity should include your personal details such as your name, age, occupation, place of residence amongst any other relevant information required for the case.
2. Write a statement of truth
This section is designed to ensure that the individual writing the affidavit swears that everything they are writing is the complete truth. It must be in the first person and you must identify yourself in it. An example would be: “I, Amanda Smith swear that the facts stated in this statement are true to the best of my knowledge.”
It would be advised that you proofread the statements you have wrote before submitting the affidavit and swearing under oath, as if there are any mistakes or the statements are found out to be incorrect or dishonest, you may be liable for the contempt of court or perjury and may be fined or imprisoned.
3. Write your account of all events factually as they occurred in plain English
The correct form to use for an affidavit is Form N285. Provide details such as names, dates, times and addresses.
4. Repeat your statement of truth just to reiterate that what you have stated above is completely true.
5. Sign and notarise it
This is the final step. You can complete most of your affidavit prior to this stage as your affidavit will need to be notarised before it is valid. You can use a notary public for this, as institutions rely upon them to verify and authorise legal documents and verify the identity of the signer. Notaries and solicitors amongst other verified individuals are given permission to act as Commissioners for Oaths and authorise affidavits in Chapter 10 of the Commissioners for Oaths Act 1889.
Both you and the notary will need to sign:
- Any alterations made to the affidavit at the time of notarising
- Each page of the affidavit
- The affidavit itself
Will I be charged a fee for my affidavit to be witnessed?
If your affidavit is sworn by a solicitor or a notary public, there is usually a fee charged for this. If it is done in court however, there will be no fee charged.
CONTACT US FOR OUR EXPERT ADVICE
The easiest and most convenient way of getting an affidavit witnessed is through Woodcock Law & Notary Public. We are experienced in notarising affidavits and declarations, including Statutory Declarations and Biographical Affidavits.
We offer reasonable fees and price match wherever possible with a smooth, professional service. Our notarial fees are charged on a per document basis, starting from £100 plus VAT. You can request for a fixed quote and we will assess your requirements and get that back to you. If you are based outside of the European Union, VAT will not be charged.
Contact us if you need any assistance on 0800 049 2471 or email email@example.com.
Woodcock Law & Notary Public is also regulated by The Notaries Society, The Legal Ombudsman, The Faculty Office of The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Common Law Association of Notaries.