Basics Of What Are Statutory Declarations?
To make sure that we are all on the same page lets look as a first step as to what is the general definition of a ‘Statutory Declaration’…
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, notaries public, police officers, military officers, registered members of certain professional organisations (i.e. Nurses, National Tax Accountant’s Association and Institution of Engineers Australia), 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 four years.
The states of Australia each have their own laws regarding statutory declarations and should be checked before completing and or witnessing documents for each specific state, e.g. Victoria – Oaths & Affirmations Act 2018 has implemented prescribed wording and forms for use with Statutory Declarations.