Have you ever found yourself disputing someone else’s story or version of events? Arguing back and forth with someone can be frustrating and tedious, especially when it involves a serious matter requiring litigation. Instead, Courts usually require that parties to a case present a statement of facts known as an affidavit prior to proceedings.
An affidavit is a written sworn statement of evidence which sets out the facts of your case to the Court. It states what the issues of the case are and describes how they arose. The facts contained within an affidavit are required to be sworn or affirmed to be true before an authorised witness, i.e. solicitor, barrister or Justice of the Peace who must witness your signature before signing the affidavit themselves.
If you would like to have your affidavit sworn or affirmed, LawPath has access to qualified lawyers to help you with your affidavit.
Contents of an affidavit
The contents of an affidavit are limited to the relevant and factual information regarding a case. An affidavit should not contain opinions or bias by the individual making the affidavit and parties submitting an affidavit should aim to be objective when selecting relevant evidence.
Any evidence tendered which contain scandalous, irrelevant or oppressive assertions about another party are prohibited and the affidavit or those portions of them may be deemed inadmissible. These may include assertions about someone’s perceived character and appearance or irrelevant details such as their socio-economic background, education, gender etc.
When making an affidavit, it is important to include only direct evidence that was personally witnessed or heard by the individual. An affidavit should only state facts that the individual personally heard or saw and should not include any statements based on second-hand evidence, such as information they were told someone else saw or heard. This is known as ‘hearsay’. There are specific rules that deal with hearsay and can result in the evidence deemed inadmissible in Court.
Sworn or affirmed
Information contained in an affidavit must be sworn or affirmed to be the truth. If you choose to have your affidavit sworn, you are swearing an oath to tell the truth while holding the Bible or other religious text. Alternatively you can choose to take an affirmation if you do not have any religious beliefs which affirms that all the documents you have made are truthful.
Sometimes documents are referenced in the affidavit which are required to be attached as an ‘annexure’ or an ‘exhibit’ (depending on the Court). An annexure or exhibit is required to have an accompanying statement signed by the witness to attest that the document is indeed what is being referred to in the affidavit. Additionally, the document attached must be numbered chronologically, i.e. Annexure ‘A’, Annexure ‘B’.
After you have submitted your signed and witnessed affidavit to the Court, remember that the evidence you have submitted may be called again in Court for you to testify the facts in front of the judge and jury. It is important that you are familiar with the facts you have tendered and checked them to ensure they are error-free.
If you need help drafting or witnessing an affidavit, LawPath offers a fixed-quote service, which allows you to obtain three fixed-price quotes from our network of expert lawyers.
Want to know more? Contact a LawPath consultant on 1800LAWPATH to learn more about customising legal documents, obtaining a fixed-fee quote from one our network of 600+ expert lawyers or any other legal needs.