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Affidavit and other court forms

Affidavit An affidavit is a written statement made on oath or solemn affirmation and signed by the witness/deponent before a Justice of the Peace, for use in court instead of oral evidence in chief.

An affidavit is a serious document. It must be truthful and it must not be deceptive or misleading. If it is found in Court to contain errors, the deponent (person swearing the affidavit) cannot explain that away by saying that someone else wrote the affidavit. Before swearing the affidavit, the deponent should read and approve every sentence of the affidavit. Any errors should be corrected by pen, or by re-typing, and initialled, before the deponent swears (signs) the affidavit before a Justice of Peace or a solicitor.

The deponent should always remember that they are not giving opinion, nor making an argument, nor telling a story. He/she is giving evidence - meaning an honest recollection of things he/she saw, heard, said, and did. There are severe penalties for swearing an affidavit which has contents that are false.

Most written forms of affidavit contain an oath or affirmation given by the deponent at the start or end of the text of the affidavit. An oath is a religious promise to tell the truth. An affirmation is a secular promise to tell the truth. The oath or affirmation is usually witnessed or "taken" by a Justice of the Peace, or solicitor, or in some states, a barrister. This person also signs the affidavit, and they should print their name and address.

Different forms apply in different court jurisdictions. Prescribed court forms are usually set out in an annexure to the the Rules of each court, or the civil procedure code of each State.

Finding the proper form is the easy bit. Giving relevant and admissible evidence is the difficult part. The Evidence Act says evidence is relevant "if it could rationally affect (directly or indirectly) the assessment of the probability of the existence of a fact in issue in the proceeding". The Act describes this as "the general inclusionary rule that relevant evidence is admissible".

DocDownload does not give legal advice, but we offer a second general rule: an affidavit should be easy for the judge to read. In the spirit of both rules, DocDownload publishes a general guide on how to write affidavits, in the form of a list of important DO's and DON'T's. The objective of the guide is to produce an affidavit which relevant and admissible, and and also readable and persuasive.

There has been a lot of development on the Internet since the docDownload site was established. Most courts have webpages where you can find the court's forms, including affidavit forms, and download them for free. Here are some useful links:

- NSW Court Forms (Local Court, District Court & Supreme Court)

- Family Court of Australia Forms

- Family Court of Western Australia Forms

- Family Law Court Forms

- Federal Court of Australia Forms

- Federal Magistrates Court of Australia Forms

- High Court of Australia Forms

- Queensland Courts Forms

- Victorian Children's Court Forms

- Victorian County Court Forms

- Victorian Magistrate's Court Criminal Matters Forms

- Victorian Magistrate's Court Family Violence Intervention Forms

- Victorian Magistrate's Court Traffic Offences Forms

- Western Australia Magistrate's Court

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Choose a template:

40297 How To Draft An Affidavit

New. For use in the Federal Court, Magistrates' Court, Intermediate (District/County) Court, or in the Supreme Court. The forms supplied free by websites such as LawLink contain a space where the deponent (the maker of the affidavit) types or writes what he or she wants to say on oath or affirmation. Non-lawyers find it difficult to say their evidence in a form which is relevant and admissible in the eyes of the court. Hence deponents might like to look at the following guide to "How To Draft Affidavits" - a short list of DO's and DON'T's - which might assist in making the text affidavit into something relevant and admissible and also persuasive. (L-HowTo2)

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