Throughout the course of employment an employee may be required to provide, or may be requested to witness, a statutory declaration or an affidavit.
A statutory declaration is a written statement that a person signs and declares to be true and correct before an authorised witness. By signing it, the person agrees that the information in it is true, and the person can be charged with a criminal offence if the information is false.
Within the Department, statutory declarations are used for a number of purposes, including on commencement of employment, and to support applications for personal leave.
A statutory declaration must be made in writing using the prescribed form. This can be accessed from the Department of Justice and Community Safety's statutory declarations page (see links below). The person making the statutory declaration must confirm the truth of the statement in the presence of the authorised statutory declaration witness in accordance with the prescribed requirements.
The Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 provides that statutory declarations may only be witnessed by certain categories of persons. A list of the prescribed categories of witnesses is set out on the Department of Justice and Community Safety website (see links below). For example, at present, a VPS employee at VPS Grade 2 and above may witness a statutory declaration. Within the Teaching Service, a school principal or a teacher employed on an ongoing basis at a school may witness a statutory declaration. There are also specific Guidelines for Authorised Witnesses on how to appropriately witness a statutory declaration (see link below).
An affidavit is a written statement that is confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the person making it before a person authorised to take an affidavit. Affidavits are used in court proceedings and for other purposes authorised by law. There is no single prescribed form for an affidavit however the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 specifies the basic contents and requirements. Each court and tribunal has special rules about the format of an affidavit, so it is important to check the format of a required affidavit with the relevant court or tribunal.
The list of authorised affidavit takers, and guidelines available for authorised affidavit takers are available on the Department of Justice and Community website (see links below).
- Statutory Declarations (Department of Justice and Community Safety - http://www.justice.vic.gov.au)
- Affidavits (Department of Justice and Community Safety - http://www.justice.vic.gov.au)
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