How to witness an affidavit remotely?

  1. The Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response—Wills and Enduring Documents) Amendment Regulation 2020 expires on 30 September 2021. 
  2. The regulation inserted new parts into the Oaths Act 1867 (‘Oaths Act’) which, pursuant to regulation 12A modified requirements or arrangements for making, signing and witnessing affidavits under the Oaths Act or another law, and allowed for affidavits to be made and signed electronically, and to be witnessed by AV link. 
  3. Procedurally, the following steps ought be adopted for affidavits being taken remotely:

    - If the streaming service has recording enabled, then the witness be warned the execution is being recorded. Recording is not mandatory.
    - The witness take reasonable steps to verify the identity of the deponent and the ID-ed name matches the names on the affidavit (reg 18).
    - The witness must be satisfied that the signatory is freely and voluntarily signing the document (reg 17).
    - The audio visual link must enable the witness to be satisfied, by the sounds and images made by the link that the signatory is signing the document the witness observes the signatory or substitute signatory signing the document in real time and the signatory signs each page of the document (reg 17).

  4. If you are availing yourself of the COVID provisions for Queensland, the standard affidavit jurat used pursuant to the UCPR needs to be amended and the following could be temporarily used:

    The contents of this affidavit are true to the extent that matters deposed to are within my own knowledge. To the extent the contents of the affidavit are stated on the basis of information and belief, those contents are true to the best of my knowledge and my means of knowledge and sources of information, appear on the face of this my affidavit. In making this affidavit, I understand that any person who provides a false matter in an affidavit commits an offence including but not limited to perjury under the Criminal Code, section 123.
    This affidavit was [made in the form of an electronic document, and was electronically signed by me, and was] made, signed and witnessed in accordance with the Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response—Wills and Enduring Documents) Amendment Regulation 2020.

    Sworn [or: Affirmed] by (full name) on (date) at (place) in the presence of: