Posted on February 16, 2012 by Frances Tse

Upcoming changes to statutory declarations and affidavits

Amendments to the Oaths Act 1900 by the Identification Legislation Amendment Act 2011 beginning on 30 April 2012, means that there will be additional requirements to confirm the identity of persons when taking and receiving statutory declarations and affidavits.

On and from 30 April 2012, persons who are authorised to take and receive statutory declarations and affidavits (authorised witnesses) must provide certification that:

  • the authorised witness saw the face of the person making the declaration or affidavit, or did not see the face of the person because of a face covering but is satisfied that the person has special justification for not removing the face covering, and
  • the authorised witness knows the person making the declaration or affidavit (meaning the authorised witness must have known the person for at least 12 months) or does not know the person but has confirmed the person’s identity based on an identification document that he or she has sighted, and
  • if an identification document is relied on, that that document is the document specified in the certificate.

Currently, the only special justification allowed by the legislation for an authorised witness not seeing a person’s face is if that person is wearing a face covering and has a legitimate medical reason for not removing the face covering.

The authorised witness can confirm a person’s identity by sighting an original or certified copy of:

  • current NSW driver’s licence,
  • current Australian passport, or one that has been expired for less than 2 years,
  • current NSW proof of age card,
  • Australian birth certificate,
  • Australian citizenship certificate,
  • current Centrelink pension card,
  • current Medicare card, pensioner concession card, Department of Veterans’ Affairs entitlement card or other entitlement card issued by the Commonwealth or a State Government,
  • current credit card,
  • a passbook or statement of account from a bank, building society or credit union that is less than 1 year old,
  • an electoral enrolment card that is less than 3 years old, or
  • a student identity card that is less than 3 years old.

A template form for certification can be found in Schedule 1 of the Oaths Regulation 2011.

Council officers who are Justices of the Peace must take note of this upcoming change and ensure that the above certification is provided with every affidavit and statutory declaration on and from 30 April 2012.