A Full Guide to Statutory Declarations

A statutory declaration is a written statement of fact where a declarant affirms that the facts stated are true to the best of their knowledge. A statutory declaration is governed by the Statutory Declarations Act 1835.

The title refers to the fact that a declaration is being made and is governed by statute or legislation. A statutory declaration will need to be witnessed in front of a prescribed person.

Statutory declarations have a much broader use than affidavits, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. Affidavits are traditionally statements that are filed at Court, whereas statutory declarations can be used for a greater range of purposes.

Unlike some affidavits, you do not swear a statutory declaration, and no religious texts are required when signing.

Who Can Witness a Statutory Declaration?

Under the Act, a statutory declaration can be witnessed by a person authorised by law to administer oaths. The following persons are entitled to administer oaths:

  1. A Commissioner for Oaths
  2. A Solicitor
  3. A Notary Public
  4. A Justice of the Peace
  5. Any other qualified person

Commissioner for Oaths

A Commissioner for Oaths is a person commissioned by the Lord Chancellor to administer oaths or affidavits for the purposes of any court matter in England or Wales.

Solicitors

All solicitors that hold a valid practising certificate are entitled to act as a Commissioner for Oaths.

Notary Public

A notary public is a lawyer and public official specialising in the authentication and certification of signatures, authority and capacity relating to documents for use abroad.

By virtue of their role, notaries can act as a Commissioner for Oaths. If a statutory declaration is to be used outside of England and Wales, it will need to be signed in the presence of a notary public.

Justice of the Peace

A Justice of the Peace, also known as a JP or magistrate, is an ordinary citizen empowered to hear minor civil and criminal cases in their local community.

Any Other Qualified Person

Any other qualified person includes members of the armed forces ranked Major, Lieutenant-Commander or Squadron Leader and above, as well as British Consular and Diplomatic officers posted abroad.

Prescribed Wording

The Act states prescribed wording to be used in the statutory declaration.

It must begin with the following preamble:

  • “I (name) do solemnly and sincerely declare…”

And end with the following statement:

  • “and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835.”

When Are Statutory Declarations Commonly Used?

Statutory declarations are commonly used by declarants to satisfy the requirements of authorities when they cannot provide other documentation. Some common reasons include confirming marital status, confirming ties to a particular country, and explaining confusion over names.

Getting Married Abroad

  • Authorities in the country you are getting married in will look to confirm that you are single and free to marry before they allow the wedding to take place. 
  • You can often provide this evidence by obtaining a Certificate of No Impediment from your local registry office. However, if you cannot obtain one you will need to sign a statutory declaration. The declaration will typically state that you’re not currently married, and that there is no legal reason preventing you from getting married.

Applying for an OCI Card

  • You will need to provide various evidence to the Indian High Commission to prove eligibility for an Indian OCI card. If you cannot provide certain evidence, you may be asked to provide a notarised statutory declaration explaining why.  Common reasons include where you might have lost birth certificates or passports proving family ties to India.

Discrepancy in Names

  • If your name differs on identity documentation, authorities abroad may ask you to prove who you are. A statutory declaration can state the reason for the discrepancies and confirm that you are one and the same person. Elsewhere, if you have changed your name and lost your Deed Poll, statutory declarations can be used to confirm when the name change occurred and what your present and former names are.

How Do You Get a Statutory Declaration?

You can get a statutory declaration by either drafting one or downloading a statutory declaration form online.

  • If drafting it yourself, you’ll need to make sure that you follow the requirements set out under the Act. A legal professional may also assist with drafting the statutory declaration for you.
  • Often for statutory declarations to be used in the UK, prescribed templates or forms are issued and can be found on the internet. These include statutory declarations for enrolling a change of name, or when entering into a new tenancy under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.

If you require a bespoke statutory declaration, to use either in the UK or abroad, we are more than happy to draft it for you. You will simply need to let us know what you need it to say, and we will handle the rest. We can then arrange an appointment for you to sign in the presence of one of our notaries.

What Are the Requirements for a Statutory Declaration?

A statutory declaration must comply with the prescribed wording under the Act.  If you are downloading a statutory declaration form, the wording will likely be pre-printed on the form.

Once drafted you will need to sign in the presence of one of the prescribed witnesses.  They will ask to see identification. This is likely to be one form of photographic ID such as a passport or driving licence, and one proof of address no older than 3 months such as a bank statement or utility bill. Anyone can sign a statutory declaration as long as they are 18 or over and can understand what they are signing. 

When doing the signing, you will need to write the date and where the declaration was declared. The phrase “declared at” simply means the location where the declarant signed, and standard practice is to write the name of the city or town.

The person who witnesses the statutory declaration will need to sign and either write or stamp their name, address, and capacity. 

How Much Does a Statutory Declaration Cost?

A Commissioner for Oaths or solicitor must charge £5 per person signing a statutory declaration and £2 for each exhibit which is required to be marked. The Commissioners for Oaths (Fees) Order 1993 dictates how much a Commissioner for Oaths and solicitor can charge to witness a statutory declaration. The fees are inclusive of Value Added Tax.

Notaries are not subject to the above fees. If you are using a statutory declaration outside of the UK, you will likely need a notary to witness the document. We charge a minimum fee of £80 to notarise a statutory declaration. 

If you have multiple statutory declarations, each subsequent declaration is half price at £40. We do not charge per exhibit. Value Added Tax may be applicable.

If you need a statutory declaration to use domestically in the UK, our notaries can witness the document in their capacity as a Commissioner for Oaths. This service is provided at the discretion of the notary.

What Is a Statutory Declaration Form?

A statutory declaration form is a templated statutory declaration document that may be provided for certain matters. These are often provided by government departments and can be downloaded from the relevant websites.

The templated statutory declaration will often have accompanying instructions on how to fill a statutory declaration form. A templated statutory declaration form can either be printed and completed by hand or may be editable online on the form itself.

How Long Does a Statutory Declaration Last?

Under the Act, there is no expiry date for statutory declarations. This means they can potentially last for years. However, you should be mindful that whoever is asking you to provide the statutory declaration may impose their own limit on how long it can last.

Conclusion

A statutory declaration is a very common and useful legal document. Anyone can sign the statutory declaration as long as they are of full age and can demonstrate understanding of what they are signing. It provides legal weight to your statements and can help you confirm facts in the absence of other evidence. 

How much a statutory declaration costs depends on whether you need it drafted, and whether you need it notarised. For statutory declarations signed by a solicitor or Commissioner for Oaths, for use in the UK, prescribed rates apply, whilst for those requiring to be notarised for use abroad, regular notarial fees will apply.

We deal with statutory declarations on a daily basis. Our notaries can notarise declarations to use abroad, or witness declaration as Commissioner for Oaths to use only in the UK. 

We have years of experience drafting statutory declarations for a variety of purposes and can help you get one tailored specifically to your needs.

We offer competitive packages to draft and notarise your statutory declaration and would love to discuss your requirements with you. Call us today on 020 763 01777 or email info@notary.co.uk to find out more.