An affidavit is a written sworn declaration, signed by the person before a Commissioner of Oaths. Affidavits are required in many spheres of life, but in particular, they are used extensively in court proceedings, where they have the status as evidence under oath.
Indeed, when you depose to an affidavit, the Commissioner of Oaths will, in terms of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act 1963,1 require you to ‘swear’ ( that is, confirm under oath) that:
- what you depose to – i.e. the content of the affidavit – is true and correct;
- you have no objection to taking an oath;
- you consider the oath binding on your conscience.
If you have an objection to taking such oath, for example, for religious reasons, you will be required to make a ‘solemn declaration’ instead. It has the same effect.
- Any person who, in an affidavit, affirmation or solemn declaration makes a false statement, knowing it to be false, commits an offence.2