Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Publications

Project 28(I) - Official attestation of forms and documents

Project No. 28(I)

Commenced: 1972
Completed: 1978

The reference originated as a result of several long-standing concerns:

  1. the vast number of minor and unimportant documents that required formal witnessing by persons of special status;
  2. the lack of qualified witnesses available in Western Australia to witness such documents; and
  3. the large number of applications received from persons seeking to be appointed as Commissioners for Declarations for the purpose of witnessing such documents.

Terms of Reference

In 1972, the Committee was given a general reference to report on the law relating to the formality of oaths, declarations and the attestation of documents.

Outcomes

There has been no legislative action to date to implement the Commission’s recommendations regarding changing the law to allow unattested statutory declarations. However, in 1987, the range of qualified witnesses under the Declarations and Attestations Act 1913 (WA) was increased by amendment to allow certain individuals such as town clerks, police officers, university academics, pharmacists and legal practitioners to automatically qualify to witness documents without prior registration. This addressed some of the problems that motivated the original reference such as the lack of sufficient qualified witnesses and the backlog of applications for appointment of Commissioners for Declarations.

The signing of affidavits with rubber stamps has since been prohibited by the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005 (WA) s 15.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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