Documents may need to be witnessed by an authorised person before they can be accepted by a range of organisations.
Documents are witnessed to confirm the accuracy of information and minimise the risk of people fraudulently submitting documents.
See the Department of Justice and Community Safety's website for more information about affidavits.
If you intentionally make a false statement in an affidavit, you can be charged with perjury.
Registrars of the Magistrates' Court of Victoria are available during normal business hours to witness affidavits. See the relevant Magistrates’ Court contact us page for opening hours.
A statutory declaration is a written statement signed and declared to be true before an authorised witness. Statutory declarations are not the same as affidavits, as they are not confirmed by oath or affirmation.
If you intentionally make a false statement in a statutory declaration, you can be charged with a criminal offence.
A certified copy is a photocopy of an original document that has been certified as being a true copy of the original by an authorised person.
Certified documents to be sent interstate or overseas should be signed by a justice of the peace or public notary. Registrars are not considered as a justice of the peace or public notary.
To find a:
- justice of the peace, see the Department of Justice and Community Safety's website
- public notary, see the notary locator website.
Authorised persons who can certify a document or sign an affidavit or statutory declaration include, but are not limited to:
- a justice of the peace or bail justice
- public notary
- the principal registrar, registrar or deputy registrar of the Magistrates’ Court
- a lawyer.
A full list of authorised persons can be found in the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958.
This is not a full list of legislation associated with this topic. See the Victorian Government's legislation website for more information.