From 1 January 2020, all statutory declarations must follow the process below. This process is taken from the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (External link)

Please use an updated form, like the form on the Statutory declarations page

COVID-19 (Emergency Measures) (Electronic Signing and Witnessing) Regulations 2020

Statutory declarations can now be made remotely to maintain physical distancing to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The normal rules for witnessing a statutory declaration in person still apply, but now you can also do it using an audio-visual link with a person seeking to make one.

If you wish to witness a statutory declaration remotely, please see the information below

This page contains information for authorised statutory declaration witnesses.

If you need to make a statutory declaration, please see the Statutory declarations page. If you need to certify a copy of a document, please see the Certification of copied documents page. 

About statutory declarations

A statutory declaration is a legally recognised written statement that the person making the statutory declaration (the declarant) promises is truthful.

It is witnessed by a person who is authorised by legislation to witness statutory declarations. It includes an acknowledgement that the declarant knows that it is an offence to make a statement they know to be untrue.

A person who makes a statement in a statutory declaration that the person knows to be untrue commits an offence that is punishable by a fine of up to 600 penalty units or up to imprisonment for 5 years or both.

Statutory declarations are used for many purposes, including to:

  • verify insurance claims
  • prove a person's age
  • apply for sick leave at work.

They are often used to obtain a right or benefit and therefore must contain truthful information.

Having a statutory declaration witnessed adds formality and accountability to the process. The organisation receiving the statutory declaration can then be confident about the information being provided.

Check if you can witness statutory declarations

 

List of authorised statutory declaration witnesses

Under Section 30 of the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (External link) (as of 1 March 2019), previously Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 (External link), the list of persons who may witness statutory declarations includes:

  • A person currently licensed or registered to practice in Australia as one of the following occupations:
    • Architect
    • Chiropractor
    • Conveyancer
    • Dentist
    • Financial adviser or financial planner
    • Legal practitioner
    • Medical practitioner
    • Midwife
    • Migration agent
    • Nurse
    • Occupational therapist
    • Optometrist
    • Patent attorney
    • Pharmacist
    • Physiotherapist
    • Psychologist
    • Trade marks attorney
    • Veterinary surgeon
  • An accountant who meets at least one of the following criteria:
    • Fellow of the National Tax Accountants’ Association
    • Member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
    • Member of the Association of Taxation and Management Accountants
    • Member of CPA Australia
    • Member of the Institute of Public Accountants
  • Agent of the Australian Postal Corporation who is in charge of an office supplying postal services to the public
  • Australian Public Service employee engaged on an ongoing basis with 5 or more years of continuous service who is not otherwise authorised
  • Australian Consular Officer or Australian Diplomatic Officer
  • Bailiff
  • Bank officer with 5 or more continuous years of service
  • Building society officer with 5 or more years of continuous service
  • Chief executive officer of a Commonwealth court
  • Clerk of a court
  • Commissioner for Affidavits
  • Commissioner for Declarations
  • Credit union officer with 5 or more years of continuous service
  • Employee of a Commonwealth authority engaged on a permanent basis with 5 or more years of continuous service who is not otherwise authorised
  • Employee of the Australian Trade and Investment Commission who is authorised in writing by the Secretary of DFAT to collect fees under s 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955, if at a place outside Australia and in the course of the employee’s duties at that place
  • Employee of the Commonwealth who is authorised in writing by the Secretary of DFAT to collect fees under s 3(d) of the Consular Fees Act 1955, if at a place outside Australia and in the course of the employee’s duties at that place
  • An engineer who meets at least one of the following criteria:
    • A member of Engineers Australia, other than a student
    • A Registered Professional Engineer of Professionals Australia
    • Registered as an engineer under a law of the Commonwealth or a State or Territory
    • Registered on the National Engineering Register by Engineers Australia
  • Finance company officer with 5 or more years of continuous service
  • Holder of a Commonwealth statutory office not otherwise specified
    • For example, Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • IBAC Officers
  • Judge
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Local government Councillor
  • Magistrate
  • Registered marriage celebrant
  • Master of a court
  • Member of the Australian Defence Force who meets at least one of the following criteria:
    • An officer
    • A non-commissioned officer with 5 or more years of continuous service
    • A warrant officer
  • Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
  • Member of the Governance Institute of Australia Ltd
  • Member of the Parliament of a State
  • Member of a Territory legislature
  • Member of a local government authority
  • Registered minister of religion
  • Notary public, including a notary public exercising functions at a place outside either the Commonwealth or the external Territories of the Commonwealth
  • Permanent employee of the Australian Postal Corporation with 5 or more years continuous service who is employed in an office providing postal services to the public
  • Permanent employee with 5 or more years of continuous service who is not otherwise specified, if employed at one of the following:
    • State
    • Territory
    • State authority
    • Territory authority
    • Local government authority
  • Police officer
  • Police reservist
  • Protective service officer (PSO)
  • Registrar, or Deputy Registrar, of a court
  • A school principal
  • Senior executive employee of a Commonwealth authority
  • Senior executive employee of a State or Territory
  • Senior Executive Service employee of the Commonwealth
  • Sheriff
  • Sheriff’s officer
  • State Trustees officer or employee with a classification level of 2 or above
  • Teacher employed on a permanent full-time or part-time basis at a school or tertiary education institution
  • Transport Accident Commission officer or employee with a classification of level 2 or above
  • VicRoads officer or employee with a classification of level 2 or above
  • Victorian Inspectorate Officer
  • A Victorian Public Service employee with a prescribed classification level of 2 or above
    •  For example, a project officer employed as a VPS4 or an administrative assistant employed as a VPS2
  • Victorian WorkCover Authority officer or employee with a classification of band 2 or above
  • Any authorised affidavit taker, including:
    • A judicial officer
      • For example, a judge or magistrate
    • An associate to a judicial officer
    • An honorary justice
    • The prothonotary or a deputy prothonotary of the Supreme Court
    • The registrar of probates or an assistant registrar of probates
    • The registrar or a deputy registrar of the County Court
    • The principal registrar, a registrar or a deputy registrar of the Magistrates’ Court
    • The principal registrar, a registrar or a deputy registrar of the Children’s Court
    • The principal registrar, a registrar or a deputy registrar of VCAT
    • The principal registrar or a registrar of the Coroners Court
    • A member of VCAT
    • A member or former member of either House of the Parliament of Victoria
    • A member or former member of either House of the Parliament of the Commonwealth
    • A public notary
    • A senior officer of a Victorian municipal Council who meets one of the following criteria:
      • Chief Executive Officer
      • A member of Council staff with management responsibilities and reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer
      • Any other member of Council staff earning a salary of at least $124,000 (or a higher threshold, if specified by the Minister under s 97B of the Local Government Act 1989 (External link))
    • A fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives (Victoria)
    • A person acting judicially
      • For example, an arbitrator or any person or body with authority to hear, receive and examine evidence
    • Any other officer or person empowered, authorised or permitted by or under any Act or rules of a court or rules of a tribunal to administer affidavits

If you are authorised because of your profession you can witness any statutory declaration, not just those related to your profession.

In most cases, witnesses authorised in their profession, but employed in a temporary or casual capacity will be permitted to witness statutory declarations. Any exceptions to this are noted accordingly in the above list of authorised statutory declarations witnesses, for example, teachers are only authorised if employed on a permanent basis.

Charging a fee

Witnessing statutory declarations is usually regarded as a public service. 

A Justice of the Peace is not permitted to charge for witnessing statutory declarations. The law does not prohibit other witnesses charging a fee or asking for small donation to a charity instead of a fee.

Witnessing a statutory declaration

Making sure a statutory declaration is valid

A statutory declaration must be made in writing using the form that can be accessed from the Statutory declarations page. The person making the statutory declaration must say certain words to confirm the truth of the statement in the presence of you, the authorised statutory declaration witness.

You and the person making the statutory declaration, must be together and in front of one another when you:

  1. sign or initial any changes that have been made to the original statutory declaration
  2. sign or initial each page of the statutory declaration.

The person making the statutory declaration must say, in front of you:

 'I, [full name of person making declaration] of [address], declare that the contents of this statutory declaration are true and correct.'

You can ask them to repeat the words after you, or they can read them aloud.

The person making the statutory declaration must, in the section provided on the form, legibly write, type or stamp their:

  1. name
  2. address, and
  3. occupation on the statutory declaration.

You must, in the section provided on the form, sign and write, type or stamp your:

  1. name
  2. personal or professional address (professional address is preferred), and
  3. your qualification as a statutory declaration witness.

Example

[signature]

Jenny Law
1 Smith Street Melbourne Victoria 3000
Public Service Employee Grade 4

The statutory declaration is now complete. 

Small mistakes in a statutory declaration

A statutory declaration may still be valid if a person makes a small, insignificant mistake that does not strictly comply with a requirement. This will depend on each case, and may ultimately depend on a court ruling.

For statutory declarations that refer to other documents

The following steps must be followed for each document referenced in the statutory declaration:

  1. attach a certificate to the document that identifies it as an exhibit to the statutory declaration
  2. ensure the person making the statutory declaration signs the certificate
  3. sign the certificate yourself and include your qualification as a statutory declaration witness under your signature.

There is no limit on the number of documents that can be attached to a statutory declaration.

Helping someone make a statutory declaration

A person making a statutory declaration may need help with reading, writing, translation or other kinds of assistance.

As an authorised statutory declaration witness, you can provide this help to the person making the statutory declaration.

Any person who helps with these tasks must clearly write or stamp on the front page of the statutory declaration:

  • their name and address
  • the help they provided to the person making the declaration.

This is not required if the help is given by:

  • an Australian legal practitioner
  • a licensed conveyancer
  • a person assisting someone to prepare a Victim Impact Statement.

If a person is illiterate, blind, or has a cognitive impairment

You must read the document aloud to them. You must also write on the front of the document that you have read the document to them.

If a person has a disability that prevents them from complying with the usual process

You may make reasonable changes to the usual process to help them make the statutory declaration. For example:

  • a person who has a hearing impairment may read and sign the oral declaration instead of saying it aloud
  • a person who is unable to speak may be able to read or listen to the statutory declaration being read and nod assent.

Witnessing a Victorian statutory declaration outside Victoria

A statutory declaration for use in Victoria can be witnessed by:

  • any person on the list of authorised statutory declaration witnesses above who happen to be outside Victoria at the time
  • certain consular officials on the list of authorised statutory declaration witnesses above
  • a person who is authorised to administer an oath or affirmation in that place.

The Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018

The Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (External link) prescribes: 

  • what must be in a statutory declaration
  • who can witness it
  • the penalties for false statutory declarations.

The Act and related regulations bring together, clarify and update laws about oaths, affirmations, affidavits and statutory declarations that were previously found in the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 (External link). This legislation also provides a clear statutory process for certifying that a document is a true copy of an original document.

From 1 January 2020, a statutory declaration must be made in accordance with the requirements under the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 (External link)

Witnessing a statutory declaration remotely

Instead of meeting in person, you can arrange to witness a statutory declaration by audio-visual link.

You still need to use the statutory declaration form available on this page.

You may need to organise:

  • an agreed way to meet online. For example, this could be Zoom or Skype.
  • an agreed way to send one another documents. This could be fax, email or some other way of electronically sending documents.
  • a scanner if you want to sign a hard copy of the statutory declaration document.
  • a printer to print out a copy of the statutory document.

Please note that if a statutory declaration requires copies of documents to be attached, copies of these documents cannot currently be certified remotely. The person seeking to make a statutory declaration will need to have copies of any documents required certified in person.

For the statutory declaration to be valid, the following steps must happen:

  • during a live audio-visual link
  • on one day.

If for some reason you are interrupted and cannot complete witnessing the document that day, you will need to start from the beginning.

Step 1: Witness the person signing the statutory declaration

The person making the declaration must:

  • sign or initial each page
  • say the declaration: 'I, [your full name] of [your address], declare that the contents of this statutory declaration are true and correct'.
  • sign and date the final page.

The signature can be made electronically, for example by signing a PDF version on a tablet, smartphone or laptop using a stylus or finger. You can also physically sign a hardcopy version of the document and then scan it.

Step 2: Receive the signed document from the witness

The document can be sent by fax, email or some other method of electronically transmission.

Step 3:  Witness the statutory declaration and send it back

In addition to the normal requirements, the witness must also include a statement that it was witnessed using an audio-visual link in compliance with the Regulations.

An example of the statement is:

This document was witnessed by audio-visual link in accordance with the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Electronic Signing and Witnessing) Regulations 2020.

Step 4: The person completes the statutory declaration

On the copy you send back to the person, they must type or write:

This is a true copy of the statutory declaration made by me [their full name].   This document was witnessed by audio-visual link in accordance with the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Electronic Signing and Witnessing) Regulations 2020.

They must sign underneath the statement and provide the date.

If the person needs assistance when making the statutory declaration

In some cases, a person may need assistance to make a statutory declaration. For example, they may need someone to translate the document for them.

This may be done via audio-visual link. If this is required, the person assisting must also be present by audio-visual link when the statutory declaration is signed.

After the declarant (the person making the statutory declaration) and the witness have signed the document, the person assisting must be sent the copy of the statutory declaration before it is finalised.

They must write or type:

  • their name and address
  • an explanation of what kind of assistance they provided
  • the following statement:

Assistance was provided by audio-visual link in accordance with the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Electronic Signing and Witnessing) Regulations 2020.

The person assisting should then send the document to the person making the statutory declaration to finalise the statutory declaration.