What is an Affidavit and what is a Statutory Declaration?

Affidavits and Statutory declarations are two different types of legal documents that are used to provide written evidence in a court of law or administrative proceedings. Although they share similarities, there are still some noticeable differences between the two documents that are important to understand. 

An affidavit is a written statement that is made under oath or affirmation and used in court proceedings as evidence in support of a case. A statutory declaration, on the other hand, is a written statement that is made voluntarily without taking an oath or making an affirmation.

A person who makes an affidavit is called an affiant, and they sign the document in front of a notary public or another authorized official for the validity of the document. The affiant must swear (or affirm) that the contents of the affidavit are true to the best of their knowledge. Statutory declarations are more commonly used in administrative proceedings, used as evidence to support a court case. In some countries, these declarations are even used to make formal declarations in accordance with specific legislation. 

Affidavits are made under oath or affirmation, whereas statutory declarations are less formal and do not require the same affirmation ceremony. Additionally, another main difference is the way each is used in legal proceedings. Where affidavits are used as evidence in court, statutory declarations are mostly used in administrative proceedings. 

While both affidavits and statutory declarations are used to provide legal written evidence in court proceedings, it is important to consider the specific requirements of your case before deciding which one to use. 

Statutory Declaration or Affidavit for the transfer of property?

In the case of the death of the grantor of a hypothetical land, a statutory declaration might be used to prove the death (in the land transfer process). The declaration would be signed by the person who is giving the statement. If someone wishes to assert that a claim they made is true and valid to fulfill a legal condition, a Statutory declaration is used for this purpose. Statutory declarations are especially important in cases where there is little available evidence. The uses will vary, but some of the possible uses of Statutory declarations include:

  • Declaring identity, or changing the name of an individual
  • Determining the origin of goods or declaring nationality

An affidavit would include a written account of a specific event (or multiple events), based on how the author of the statement recalls the facts. The statements or claims in Statutory declarations (although believed to be true), the declaration is simply an affirmed statement by a declarant. 

When an author signs the record, the affidavit is considered to be authentic. Additionally, he/she will be witnessed by a commissioner of oaths or a notary public. If the author of signed document is later proven to have provided false information, the witnessing by that notary public subjects the individual to potential charges of perjury. 

Courts will usually consider both options to hold the same legal equivalence, although affidavits are more commonly used and widely preferred. 

Statutory Declarations VS. Affidavits: Checklist 

Statutory Declarations:

  1. Are written statements made voluntarily without taking an oath or making an affirmation 
  2. Are used as evidence in (mostly) administrative proceedings
  3. Are used to support a court case and are a less formal process than an affidavit
  4. Do not require the same level of the ceremony as an affidavit (is an easier process)
  5. Do not require the declarant to go through a notary public or authorized official
  6. Can provide a written record of what the declarant remembers in cases involving historical events or memories, and may provide supporting evidence in a case
  7. Could be a cost-effective alternative to other forms of evidence as it doesn’t require a declarant to attend court

Affidavits:

  1. Are written statements made under oath or affirmation in front of a notary public
  2. Are used as evidence in a court of law or other administrative proceedings
  3. Are sworn statements of facts that can be relied upon in court, and may provide supporting evidence in a case
  4. Require the affiant to sign the document in front of a notary public or an authorized official 
  5. Are mostly used to provide testimony when a witness is unable to attend court and is a reliable source of evidence
  6. Are used to provide evidence in cases where there is a lack of other available evidence, and don’t require the witness to travel to court or spend time in court giving testimony
  7. Are authentic documents declaring that the affiant swears by the contents to the best of their knowledge?

What are the benefits of choosing an Affidavit for your legal needs?

Affidavits are a reliable source of evidence, as the affiant has sworn to tell the truth once the notary public witnesses their signatures on the document. 

This means that all information contained in the affidavit can be relied upon in court. 

Affidavits are also especially useful when a witness is unable to attend court, due to distance, illness, or any other circumstance. By providing an affidavit, the witness can still have their testimony considered as evidence in the case. 

Affidavits are also used to provide ‘supporting evidence’ in cases such as documents, receipts, or other types of physical evidence. This further helps to strengthen the case and provides additional support for the testimony of the affiant. 

In cases involving historical events or memories, an affidavit can provide a written record of what the affiant remembers. It is also a cost-effective method to other forms of evidence as it doesn’t require the witness to travel to court or spend any time in court giving testimonies. It holds a significant advantage in terms of time and resources, especially in cases where multiple witnesses are required. 

The reliability and flexibility of affidavits make them a valuable resource for lawyers, judges, and individuals involved in legal proceedings. 

What are the benefits of choosing a Statutory Declaration for your legal needs?

A statutory declaration is a written statement that is made voluntarily, without taking an oath or making an affirmation. 

It is a written statement that is used as evidence in administrative proceedings and can be used to support a case in court. Unlike an affidavit, a statutory declaration does not require a whole ceremony of affirmations and swearing, which makes it easier and quicker to produce. 

It is a useful tool in administrative proceedings and is less formal, which makes it flexible and a valuable resource for individuals in much less time than other forms of evidence. While statutory declarations can be used as evidence in court, they are not as reliable as an affidavit, unless they (too) have been notarized!

THE BOTTOM LINE

Since the affidavit has a notary’s signature certifying the authenticity of the document, it is a more formal type of evidence if used in legal or court proceedings. In many legal and administrative proceedings, a statutory declaration can be used as evidence to support a claim or to provide important testimony without the need for the declarant to appear in person. For these reasons, a statutory declaration is an important and commonly used legal tool in various contexts, including immigration, tax, and government administrative proceedings. 

It is best to choose a document according to the individual requirements of your case, so consult with your notary public today and find out what services you need.   

As a leading notary public in Mississauga and Brampton, The Notary Guy consists of a team of professionals dedicated to providing quick, affordable, and reliable notary services. Our experienced notaries will handle your documentation with the utmost care and efficiency, ensuring that your process is seamless and secure. Start your notarization process with us today.

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