A statutory declaration (commonly known as a “stat dec”) is a written statement of fact that is signed in the presence of either a solicitor, notary public, magistrate or commissioner for oaths. The statement itself can be anything, but is usually some kind of evidence to satisfy a legal requirement.
For example, when changing your name, making a statutory declaration is a popular and less expensive alternative to deed poll. If you’re an executor in a will, you may also need to do a statutory declaration in order for banks to allow access to the funds in any account of the deceased.
Statutory declarations are governed by the Statutory Declarations Act 1835, which prescribes that all declarations must contain the following wording:-
“I (name) do solemnly and sincerely declare, that/as follows.. .. .. .. and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835.”
Statutory declarations must be made independently from any legal matter that they may be required for. For instance, if a solicitor is acting for you on a particular matter and you need a statutory declaration for it, that solicitor can’t also witness the declaration. If the declaration you make is untrue, you may be punished for perjury.