Statutory declarations are written statements declaring that something is true and correct. They carry a degree of formal authority that statements with only a signature do not. For matters dealt with by Queensland legislation, they are made under the Oaths Act 1867.
For Commonwealth matters, they are made under the Statutory Declarations Act 1959. A statutory declaration is intended to ensure that the statement being made is truthful. It puts the signatory—called the declarant—on notice that the information they provide must be entirely correct in their conscientious opinion (i.e. to the best of their knowledge and belief). If they knowingly make a false statement, they will be liable to a penalty. Some legislation requires information to be supplied in the form of a statutory declaration. In some cases, people choose to make a statement by way of a statutory declaration—not because there is a legal requirement to do so, but because they believe the statement will carry more weight as a result.
To be valid under the legislation, a statutory declaration must be signed by the declarant in the presence of a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations (Cdec), who then signs the document as a formal witness. Statutory declarations must be correctly worded, and standard forms are available online at www.courts.qld.gov.au and courthouses. However, most government department forms and many other forms required by a wide range of statutory authorities and businesses follow the format of a statutory declaration. Others, such as insurance claim forms, include a statutory declaration at the end. GUPSA’s Support and Event Coordinator, Michael Carden, is a Commissioner for Declarations. Michael can witness statutory declarations and other such formal documents as prescribed by law and perform the other duties of a Cdec.
A Cdec can:
• Witness documents
• Witness statutory declarations
• Witness affidavits
• Witness and administer oaths and affirmations
• Certify copies of documents as true copies, copies of a copy, or copy of a download.
The most common duties of a Cdec are witnessing statutory declarations and other formal documents, and certifying copies of documents as true copies, copies of a copy, or copy of a download. The role of a Cdec is purely administrative. Cdecs don’t have any judicial function, so they don’t deal with any court process. They can’t issue search or arrest warrants or grant bail. Cdecs are not qualified, nor expected in their role, to give legal advice.
When using the service:
• Understand the form you are asking the Cdec to witness, and its consequences
• Bring all required identification and supporting documents
• If you need a signature witnessed, do not bring pre-signed documents. The Cdec needs to see the signing take place. The Cdec will not witness a blank document. You must provide your ID when seeing the Cdec.
To make an appointment
Email email@example.com. In your email, please advise the type of service you wish, e.g. witnessing a statutory declaration, certifying a copy of a document etc. Please also advise some times and days that suit you to see the Cdec so that the Cdec can make an appointment for you.
• The Cdec service is a free service.