The Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (Vic) (the Act) will commence on 1 March 2019. The Act consolidates the laws in Victoria relating to oaths, affirmations, affidavits and statutory declarations and establishes a scheme for the certification of copies of documents.
The Act repeals Divisions 1 – 11 of Part IV and all of Part V of the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 and makes a number of changes that will take effect from 1 March 2019.
Some of the key changes and points to note relating to affidavits and statutory declarations are as follows:
- While the previous requirements for affidavits remain, there is now an additional requirement under the Act that all pages of an affidavit and any exhibit certificates be signed by the deponent, as well as the authorised affidavit taker.
- Please be aware that Form 43A of the Supreme Court of Victoria for exhibit certificates has not yet been updated to include a signing section for the deponent. You should nevertheless ensure the deponent signs any exhibit coversheets, to comply with the Act.
- If it appears to an authorised affidavit taker that the deponent is illiterate, blind or has a cognitive impairment, the authorised affidavit taker must certify in or below the jurat that they read the affidavit to the deponent.
- The list of people who can take statutory declarations has been increased to include those people authorised under a Commonwealth Act to take a statutory declaration. This includes full time teachers employed at a school or tertiary education institution, nurses and some Australia Post staff.
- A statutory declaration witness may make reasonable modifications to the process of making a statutory declaration if the person making the statutory declaration has a disability that prevents them from doing so in accordance with the Act.
- If it appears to a statutory declaration witness that the person making the statutory declaration is illiterate, blind or has a cognitive impairment, the statutory declaration witness must certify on the face of the statutory declaration that they read the statutory declaration to the person making the statutory declaration.
- The Act also creates a new offence for making a statutory declaration that the person knows to be untrue. The maximum penalty for this offence is five years imprisonment.
If you have any questions or require assistance please contact a member of our Commercial or Dispute Resolution & Litigation teams.
Note: This article was updated on 7 March to include more information under the Affidavits section.
|Sasha Di Sipio | Lawyer
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