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Evidence in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia is usually given by affidavit. An affidavit is a written statement that is sworn or affirmed to be true. The Judge in charge of your case may have made orders that:
Before preparing an affidavit, you should get
You can get a copy of a blank affidavit form from the:
Before you start writing your Affidavit, you may want to plan:
It is important that your Affidavit is easy to read so the court can understand what you are trying to say. To do this:
You should only include information that you have direct knowledge of. A person has direct knowledge of something if they saw or heard it or otherwise witnessed it.
You should only include information that is relevant to the orders you want the court to make. The court can’t consider irrelevant or unnecessary information. If you include too much irrelevant or unnecessary information in your Affidavit, the court may refuse to read it.
Your affidavit should not include:
When you are preparing your Affidavit, you must:
Don’t include any information or documents that suggest or prove you have committed a criminal offence. This can be used as evidence against you later if you are charged. If you are not sure what to include, you should get legal advice.
Your Affidavit should be:
Don’t sign your Affidavit until you are ready to have it witnessed.
If you want to include a document or object as part of your evidence, you can 'annex' or 'exhibit' it to your affidavit. Annex means to attach it to the back of the affidavit, and then it becomes an 'annexure'. An exhibit is referred to in the affidavit but is not attached to the affidavit. Annexures are used for smaller documents while exhibits can be used for larger groups of documents and objects.
To annex documents to your Affidavit:
Make sure the documents you attach to your Affidavit are clear and easy to read. If they are not, the court may not consider them, or they may ask you to provide another copy.
Don’t include original documents in your Affidavit - only attach photocopies. The documents you file become the courts property. You will not be able to get them back once your case in finished.
You can include evidence of conversations if they are relevant. Affidavits should be written in the first person (from the point of view of the person making the affidavit) and using the word 'I'. If the affidavit refers to a conversation, you should write down the exact words used by the people in the conversation.
Once you have finished your affidavit, you need to sign it in front of a witness. The witness should be either a lawyer or a Justice of the Peace.
You must swear (religious oath) or affirm (non-religious oath) that the contents of your Affidavit are true.
You and the witness should sign every page, including the last page.
To fix any error(s) in your Affidavit, cross out the error(s) and write your initials next to your change(s). The person witnessing your Affidavit must also write their initials next to each change.
For more information about where to find a Justice of the Peace, see Finding a JP on the Department of Communities and Justice website.
If you are unsure what to write in an Affidavit, or what documents to attach, you should get legal advice.
Instructions: Instructions for filling out an Affidavit
The respondent's affidavits will be similar to yours. The first page will have the same details about the registry, case number and parties. It will have different details at the bottom of the first page because it will be filed on behalf of, and prepared by, different parties.
Because the respondent's affidavits are usually written after having read yours, they may refer to sections of your affidavits. For example, if an affidavit was being written by Gary Irons in response to the sample above, the other person involved in that conversation, it might say:
The Judge may make an order about you filing and serving affidavit evidence in reply to the respondent's affidavits. If there is anything raised in the respondent's affidavits you don't agree with, you can prepare affidavits to specifically address those parts.
Continuing with the example above, the applicant may write an affidavit in reply to the affidavit of Gary Irons. It might say: