Difference Between Affidavit and Declaration (With Table)

Often you will find that while working with the legal documents, you do come across two types of paperwork namely Affidavit and Declaration. Though it may seem similar, it portrays several differences which go unnoticed with time.  Therefore, understanding both the terms becomes quite significant.

Affidavit vs Declaration

The main difference between Affidavit and Declaration is that Affidavit is a written document that are attached to an affirmation such as a sworn statement which states that the statement made in the document is true. On the opposite side, Declarations are written documents that the person signing it swears to be true, although the statements contained in the declaration are made without witnessing or swearing the person.

An affidavit is a written statement containing some facts which are usually confirmed by the oath of the writer. It is mostly used as a legal document for making an application to the court of law as evidence about some facts.

Whereas, a Declaration is an explicit statement made by an individual about something. Mostly, it is made by the general public when they aren’t able to procure the required authenticating documents to prove their claims. For instance, you can give a declaration as a part of a divorce or real estate contract, etc.

Comparison Table Between Affidavit and Declaration

Parameters of ComparisonAffidavit Declaration
DefinitionAffidavits are written documents that are attached to an affirmation such as a sworn statement that states that the statement made in the document is true. Declarations are written documents that the person signing it swears to be true, although the statements contained in the declaration are made without witnessing or swearing the person.
PreferabilityJudges prefer affidavit over the declaration. This is because affidavits are signed in front of a notary public, which makes the oath legally bound between the parties.While it is optional for signing a declaration in front of a notary public. In most cases, it is signed by the person writing the declaration in front of a lawyer or other qualified witness. 
TerminologyThe person who is submitting the affidavit is termed as ‘Affiant’.While the person who gives the declaration is termed as ‘declarant’.
PurposiveAffidavits are used in hearing as evidence specifically in legal family matters, or can even be used as legal document inverter registrations.While declarations are generally used in the situation namely patent registration.
Legal FormalitiesThe affidavit has to adhere to strict legal guidelines before it is accepted as evidence by the court. While declarations need not follow any legal guidelines for acceptance by the court.

What is an Affidavit?

An affidavit can be defined as a written statement made under oath for specific legal proceedings. When an individual swears to be truthful and honest while creating an affidavit, they are regarded as the affiant. Affidavit plays a vital role in the proceedings of the court because it endeavors to provide a written account of the details about a specific case, making it easier for the judges to make a final judgment.

Affidavit usually plays a predominant role in the court proceedings including divorce, property disagreement, debt disputes, name change verification, residency verification, etc. One of the important functions of an affidavit is to formally legitimize a claim. These legal documents are mostly used as witness statements in any disputes. For an affidavit to be valid the individual who is signing the statement should be personally aware of all the facts and figures as disclosed in the affidavit and must take an oath that the facts ate 100% true to his/her knowledge and belief.

What is a Declaration?

To be precise, a declaration is a written statement submitted to the court of law whereby the writer swears ‘under penalty of perjury’ that the statements as enclosed are true. In other words, it would mean the writer is acknowledging that if he/she is lying, then he/she may be prosecuted for perjury. A typical declaration contains an opinion and also includes supporting documents such as photographs or any statement of proof to support the facts in the question. 

A declaration is a written statement of facts that does not require any legal formalities for instance an oath of perjury or affirmation in the court proceedings. It is usually written by the person on whom it will be presented to the court for proving their case.

Main Differences Between Affidavit and Declaration

  1. Affidavits are written documents that are attached to an affirmation such as a sworn statement that states that the statement made in the document is true. On the opposite side, Declarations are written documents that the person signing it swears to be true, although the statements contained in the declaration are made without witnessing or swearing the person.
  2. Affidavits are  usually used as evidence presented in the court proceedings. On the other hand, a declaration cannot be used as evidence in court unless it is made with personal knowledge and is relevant to the specific case.
  3. Affidavits are written statements that must be submitted on paper. On the opposite side, a declaration can be prepared and submitted via paper or electronic mode. 
  4. An affidavit is more likely to be used in civil cases. While declaration on the other hand is likely to be used in criminal matters to prove the elements of the crime with which a person has been charged.
  5. An affidavit has to adhere to strict legal guidelines before it is accepted as evidence by the court. While declarations need not follow any legal guidelines for acceptance by the court.

Conclusion 

In general, the information contained in the affidavit and declaration is the same. Yet, major differences do exist between them. An affidavit must be signed before a notary public while declaration on the other hand is used outside the court setting. 

However, both an affidavit and declaration must be drafted and evidenced with factual information. Each document or statement must contain the content stated by both the affiant and declarant to be true. Also, the statements contained in the affidavit and declaration must be such that it is relevant to the court proceedings. 

References

  1. http://www.albertalawreview.com/index.php/ALR/article/view/2323
  2. http://www.mathcces.rwth-aachen.de/_media/5people/edilbert/final_copy_master_thesis_edilbert.pdf