An affidavit is a formal written statement outlining the facts of a case in your eyes. Before filing an affidavit with the court, the person who is relying on the document must confirm that the contents are true by swearing or affirming in front of a solicitor who must hold a current unrestricted practising certificate.
How should an affidavit be formatted?
Each court has their own preference in how affidavits are drafted. However, most are usually in a similar format:
- The full name, address and occupation of the person swearing the document;
- The relationship you have to the parties in the proceedings (etc Applicant, Respondent etc).
Set out the facts and evidence you wish to rely on in chronological order using numbered paragraphs.
This is where an affidavit is usually sworn or affirmed by the party drafting the affidavit in front of a legal practitioner who holds an unrestricted practicing certificate and signed to say that you have done so.
It is advisable to engage a lawyer to assist you with preparing the document.
What happens then?
The affidavit is then filed with the court and your lawyer (if you have a lawyer representing) serves it on the other party so they are able to see what facts your case relies on. The other party (either themselves or a lawyer) will draft an affidavit outlining their case through their eyes and will reply to the facts stated in your affidavit if they don’t agree with your version of events.
How is it used in Court?
It is the court’s preference to use written affidavits as evidence in the case that comes before them (rather than oral evidence). Courts receive affidavits from both parties to the proceedings as well as their respective witnesses.
Each party and their witnesses who have filed an affidavit with the court may be questioned on their affidavit by their respective lawyer and then may be further cross examined by the opposing lawyer.