Definitions

Statutory declaration

Statutory declaration

A statutory declaration is a legal document defined under the law of certain Commonwealth nations. It is similar to a statement made under oath, however, it is not sworn.

Statutory declarations are commonly used to allow a person to affirm something to be true for the purposes of satisfying some legal requirement or regulation when no other evidence is available. They are thus similar to affidavits (which are made on oath).

Depending on jurisdiction, statutory declarations can be used for:

  • Declarations of identity, nationality, marital status, etc. when documentary evidence is unavailable.
  • Declaring the intention to change one's name.
  • Affirming the provenance and nature of goods for export or import.
  • Statements of originality for patent applications.

Australia

Australian law defines a statutory declaration as a written statement declared to be true in the presence of an authorised witness. The Statutory Declarations Act 1959 governs the use of statutory declarations in matters involving the law of the Australian Commonwealth, Australian Capital Territory, and other territories but not including the Northern Territory.

Any person within the jurisdiction of this law may make a statutory declaration in relation to any matter. The declaration may be used in connection with matters of law, including judicial proceedings, but what weight is given to the declaration is a matter for the judge to decide.

Statutory declarations must be made in a prescribed form and witnessed by a person as specified in the Statutory Declarations Regulations (1993). Prescribed witnesses include legal and medical practitioners, Justices of the Peace, notary publics, police officers, and certain other Commonwealth employees.

Intentionally making a false statement as a statutory declaration is a crime equivalent to perjury, and punishable by fines and/or a prison sentence of up to 4 years.

The States of Australia each have their own laws regarding statutory declarations.

United Kingdom

Statutory declarations can be used as a method of legally changing one's name.

References

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