Statutory declarations are often used in cases where it is required to prove some facts or statements while interacting with governmental agencies or statutory bodies. As such, there is a confusion between a statutory declaration and an affidavit, made for similar purposes but having certain differences and provided under different circumstances.
A statutory declaration is used as documentary evidence in cases when there is no other proof or when there is a need to prove a relevant fact. When providing a statutory declaration, the persons making it, or declarants, should be aware that they face criminal charges for false statements.
Affirming statutory declarations is Singapore is done before the Commissioner for Oaths. As lawyers are allowed to act as commissioners for oaths for affirming statutory declarations, in many cases, you might want to turn to your legal counsel for this purpose. Our attorneys can also help in preparing and filling in your statutory declarations to speed up your legal process.
Statutory Declaration vs. Affidavit
In many contexts, statutory declarations and affidavits are mentioned interchangeably. This comes as a little surprise, as both are written legal documents required in a legal process, containing statements that some facts are true while there is no other available evidence. Both statutory declarations and affidavits can be made by any person on his or her own will.
In some situations, it is enough to confirm a fact by statutory declaration, for example, when selling a property or applying for a loan, while in other cases, such as applying for probate or in divorce cases, an affidavit is required.
When Would You Need a Statutory Declaration
There are various situations when any person might need to make a statutory declaration. Possible examples include cases related to confirming personal matters, such as:
- identity, marital status, or nationality when there is no other proof available;
- Renunciation of religion for the purposes of MUIS;
- loss of Singapore Identity Card, passport, or other documents; and
- absence of debts for maintenance payments when planning to remarry.
In addition to declaring personal facts, statutory declarations are provided for legal and business matters, including confirmation of:
- contents of documents;
- signing, sealing, or publication of the will, deed, or document;
- originality for patent applications;
- status of goods subject to export-import control;
- obtaining subsidy for childcare fees on the basis that a parent is separated from the other parent and has no financial support
The above are just a few examples, and as it can be seen, statutory declarations are provided in a vast array of situations during interaction with governmental and statutory bodies.
Making a Statutory Declaration
Giving a statutory declaration in Singapore includes several separate stages having their own requirements as defined by the legislation.
Obtaining a Statutory Declaration Form
The procedure starts with identifying the relevant form, which shall meet the requirements for which the declaration is intended. Thus, the statutory declaration intended for a court hearing shall be downloaded from the website of the State Courts of Singapore. Accordingly, each Ministry and governmental institution may have its own form for a declaration to be used in relation to such bodies. Alternatively, the form provided by your legal counsel.
Filling in the Form
When preparing a statutory declaration for a particular purpose, it’s essential to know what is required to declare. This information can be clarified with the Commissioner for Oaths of the intended institution or with your legal counsel. It’s crucial to have the form completed and filled in accordance with the requirements before swearing or affirming.
Swearing or Affirming a Statutory Declaration
A declaration can be affirmed or sworn before a Commissioner for Oaths. Christians will generally swear a declaration (i.e. swear on the bible). The opportunity to affirm a declaration allows Muslims as well as those of other religions, who cannot swear a declaration, to confirm a fact while observing their religious views.
After a declaration is sworn or affirmed, it is signed by the declarant and the Commissioner for Oaths. From this moment, a statutory declaration cannot be changed or amended unless doing so before the Commissioner for Oaths.
Other Things to Consider
One of the most important considerations regarding statutory declarations in Singapore is to remember that a false declaration constitutes a criminal offense with severe punishment. Thus, making false declarations is punishable by imprisonment for up to 7 years in addition to a fine.
Statutory declarations that are to be used outside Singapore shall be signed in the presence of the Notary Public in Singapore.
Statutory declarations in Singapore are intended for various purposes. Their contents shall be accurate and true and present evidence as to the facts known to the declarant. Making false statements in statutory declarations is a severe criminal offence in Singapore.
Those who are interested in assistance when making statutory declarations are advised to turn to experienced lawyers who can help to prepare, fill in, and affirm a statutory declaration which would follow the requirements and be accepted by relevant institutions.