What is an Affidavit?
An affidavit is a legal document that sets out the facts of your case and tells the court that the information contained in the affidavit is 100% true and factual. A simple way to understand an affidavit is to think of it as the written version of a sworn testimony in court. In a courtroom, a witness would take the stand, place their hand on a bible and swear to tell the truth. Whereas, with an affidavit you are doing this in writing. In both scenarios you are under oath, it just so happens that with an affidavit you are under oath on paper!
What do you mean by sworn affidavit?
An affidavit is also known as a sworn affidavit. ‘Sworn’ means that the document is witnessed and signed before a judge, commissioner of oaths or an officer empowered to administer oaths, by you and the legal entity.
At Tracey Solicitors, we have several solicitors that are commissioners of oaths and that can swear certain affidavits as needed. To find out more, contact us on 01 649 9900 to speak with a member of our team of what to do next.
What is an affidavit used for?
An affidavit can be used for many purposes. They are used to prove a fact, provide truth or confirm information. In court, an affidavit is used to provide truth or confirmation of a certain statement.
When is an affidavit necessary?
At certain times during the course of legal proceedings, from personal injury cases, property transactions to business transactions it becomes necessary for particular facts to be affirmed in a more positive way than merely being stated. This is when it becomes necessary to swear to something being true. This process is also referred to as swearing a document.
Who can swear a document?
Your own solicitor is prohibited from swearing your own document. In order to swear an affidavit, you must go to the Commissioner for Oaths or to practicing solicitor. All practising solicitors have the power to swear a document. Your own solicitor will arrange for your document to be sworn. The reason for this is to ensure that by swearing the document by an independent party it shows that you are not being influenced by another person.
By swearing a document, the information contained in the document is seen to be considered in detail by the person making the statement. It is important to note that just like lying under oath on a witness stand it is also an offence to swear that the information in your affidavit/document is true when it is untrue. When you swear a document you then become known as the deponent.
How to write an affidavit?
When writing an affidavit, it is important to make it clear and concise. If an affidavit is needed in the process of your case, your solicitor may write it for you where needed.
What information does an affidavit include?
An affidavit must include the following information:
- The title of the case
- The identity of the person making the affidavit
- The occupation and address of the person making the affidavit
- Whether the witness is over 18, or their specific age if they are under 18.
- The information/evidence contained must be facts that the witness is able to prove of their own knowledge. It must state how they came to acquire such knowledge.
- The affidavit must be signed and dated by the witness
- The affidavit must be a section where the Commissioner for Oaths can verify that the affidavit was properly sworn.
What is the process of swearing an affidavit?
The swearing of an affidavit involves the following actions:
- The person making the statement must swear the document in the presence of a practicing solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths.
- The practicing solicitor witnessing the swearing of the document must not be the solicitor acting for the person making the statement. This is to ensure that they are independently swearing to the truth of the document.
- It is essential that the person making the statement has read and understood fully the statements. The person must believe them to be true.
- A person can object to swearing an oath on the bible if it is against their religious beliefs or if they have no religious belief can opt for an affirmation where they solemnly affirm the statements to be true
- A person making the statement will need to identify themselves to the practicing solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths. It may be necessary to bring a passport or driver’s licence if you do not know the practicing solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths or if they are not introduced to you by someone you know.
- It usually costs €10 for each signature of the practicing solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths and a further €2 for every document.
How much does an affidavit cost?
It usually costs €10 for each signature of the practicing solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths and a further €2 for every document.
Who can sign an affidavit?
If you need an affidavit and/or it is related to your case, it is generally signed by a commissioner for oaths and you and if there are any other people involved, it would also be signed by them. Your solicitor will advise you of the entire process to ensure you are prepared for the swearing of your affidavit.
How long is an affidavit valid for?
Once an affidavit is signed by a solicitor it does not expire.
What will my solicitor do with regards swearing of an affidavit?
If an affidavit is required your solicitor will run through the document with you before it is sworn. In doing so, they will ensure that you understand exactly what the document and statement say and mean. It is advisable to read the document again. This ensures that it states exactly what you have told your solicitor before it is sworn.
Upon reading the document before it is sworn it is important that you ask any questions you might have. This can be in relation to any legal references in the document. Make sure that you ask your solicitor to explain before the document is sworn.