13 March 2017 by

But how can my unsigned Affidavit be Valid?

For those interested in the court’s interpretation of whether a signature is required to make an affidavit valid – the recent case below offers further clarification and incite.

As you may know, an affidavit is a written statement or an oath made by an individual swearing that something is true. They are sometimes required under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) instead of a signed witness statement. It had been generally assumed that to be valid the affidavit had to be signed by the person making it.

In the case of Haederle v Thomas & Ors [2016] EWHC 3498, the court decided that in certain circumstances they had discretion as to whether an affidavit was still valid, even if it had not been signed.

In this case the Claimant had sought, and the court granted, the freezing of the Defendants assets; later in the same proceedings it was alleged that the Defendant was in contempt for breach of the Order. The Claimant alleged that during that process the Defendant had made a false statement in an affidavit he had submitted to the court.

In response to the allegation, the Defendant argued that he had not knowingly sworn a false affidavit, as while it had been sworn he had not actually signed it, a requirement listed within Practice Direction 32.5.2 of the CPR.

In response the court instead took the dictionary definition of an affidavit, and its essential nature, was as evidence given by a person swearing it to be true; this did not necessarily therefore require a signature to achieve.

They separated the issue into two different questions:

  1. what is an affidavit and what is not; or
  2. when a document could be an affidavit, whether there was a breach of the rules that applied, so as to potentially make it invalid

In this case the Court decided it was an affidavit and so it fell under the discretion of the court to decide whether to permit it; in exercising their discretion they decided that the affidavit was valid, despite it being unsigned.

You can also contact one of our other solicitors in the Dispute Resolution team here.

3 March 2017 by

Japanese knotweed – a landmark ruling

Japanese Knotweed is a highly aggressive, invasive plant that can cause serious structural damage to properties. The Environment Agency describes […]

10 March 2017 by

Outrage as New “Death Tax’ Introduced

There has been mass outrage caused by the Ministry of Justice’s recent announcement that the Probate Court fee will be […]

Signup To Our Weekly e-News

"*" indicates required fields

We’ll never share your details with any third party in line with our privacy policy.