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Witnessing Statutory Declaration Requirements: Know Who Is Authorised

15/06/2023 by
The Marketing Team
What is a Statutory Declaration? A Statutory Declaration is a legal document in which a person makes a written statement that is true and correct to the best of their knowledge. In New South Wales (NSW), Statutory Declarations are governed by the Oaths Act 1900 and are used for various purposes, including making a statement […]
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statutory declaration nsw

What is a Statutory Declaration?

A Statutory Declaration is a legal document in which a person makes a written statement that is true and correct to the best of their knowledge. In New South Wales (NSW), Statutory Declarations are governed by the Oaths Act 1900 and are used for various purposes, including making a statement for the purpose of evidence in court, verifying a fact for a government agency, or affirming the accuracy of information for a private party. The declaration must be made voluntarily and is given under the penalties of perjury. This means that if the person making the declaration is making false statements, they may face criminal charges under section 678 of the Fair Work Act 2009

What is the difference between a State & Commonwealth Declaration?

In Australia, there are two types of Statutory Declarations; State Declarations and Commonwealth Declarations. The main difference between the two is that Commonwealth declarations are governed by the Commonwealth Statutory Declarations Act 1959 and apply throughout Australia, while State Declarations are governed by the legislation that outlines the requirements for making a Statutory Declaration within that jurisdiction. 

Who can witness a NSW Statutory Declaration? 

According to the NSW legislation, a Statutory Declaration must be witnessed by an authorised person. Authorised witnesses for Statutory Declarations in NSW include: 

  • Justice of the Peace (JP)
  • Commissioner for Declarations 
  • Notary Public 
  • Lawyer
  • Pharmacist 
  • Bank Manager 
  • Teacher 
  • Police Officer 
  • Post Office Manager 

The witness must be authorised by the legislation, be 18 years of age or older, have no personal interest in the matter being declared, and be physically present at the time and must see the person signing the declaration. The witness must also sign and date the declaration and provide their full name, occupation, and residential or business address. A witness who is not authorised to witness a declaration may render the declaration invalid and may be subject to criminal charges. 

It is important to note that while family members can sign a Statutory Declaration, they may not be able to witness it in NSW. Family members may only witness a Statutory Declaration in limited circumstances, such as if they are authorised witnesses or if they are not related to the person making the declaration. 

Additionally, read through this Business Kitz Article for advice on the requirements and best practice for witnesses of a signature to assist you in finding the perfect match.

Who can witness a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration? 

The requirements for Commonwealth witnesses are outlined in the Statutory Declarations Act 1959. A Commonwealth witness must be authorised by the legislation, 18 years of age or older, and have no interest in the matter being declared. The witness must also sign the declaration in the presence of the person making the declaration. Authorised Witnesses for Commonwealth Declarations include: 

  • Justice of the Peace (JP)
  • Commissioner for Declarations 
  • Notary Public 
  • Lawyer 
  • Pharmacist 
  • Bank Manager 
  • Teacher 
  • Police Officer 
  • Post Office Manager 
  • Member of Parliament 
  • Registrar or Deputy Registrar of a Court
  • Member of the Australian Defence Force 
  • Chaplain of the Australian Defence Force 
  • Authorised Officer of an Australian Consulate or Embassy. 

In addition, there are some restrictions on who can witness a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration. A person who is a party to the matter being declared, or who has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the matter, cannot be a witness. This includes spouses, de facto partners, siblings, and parents. 

It is also important to note that there are some specific requirements for witnesses in certain circumstances. For example, a Commonwealth Statutory Declaration that is made outside of Australia must be witnessed by an authorised officer of an Australian Consulate or Embassy. This is to ensure the authenticity of the declaration and to prevent fraud. 

Consequences of making a false Statutory Declaration

Making a false Statutory Declaration is a criminal offence under the Oaths Act 1900 and is punishable by a maximum fine of $22,000 or imprisonment for up to four years. It is important to remember that a Statutory Declaration is a serious matter and that the information contained in the declaration must be truthful and accurate to the best of the declarant’s knowledge. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the NSW Statutory Declaration and witness requirements, as well as the Commonwealth witness requirements, are in place to ensure that declarations are valid and can be relied upon in legal proceedings. It is important to understand the requirements and restrictions on who can witness a Statutory Declaration, as well as the professional requirements for witnesses in certain circumstances. 

Legal Advice

If you are unsure about the requirements, have any questions, or are considering finding a witness to sign a document, we recommend seeking our legal advice. Our sister company, Legal Kitz, provides high quality services to assist with your legal documentation and can answer any other questions you may have. You can also book a FREE 30 MinuteConsultation with their experienced and highly qualified team.

About
The Marketing Team
Business Kitz Marketing team are experts in their field. You can expect the best business guides and updates on employment law here.
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