27. Reference material

Justice of the Peace Handbook

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27.1 Glossary

Affidavit An affidavit is a document that is sworn on oath or affirmed as being true and correct. It is made before a person who is authorised to take an oath or affirmation. Affidavits are mainly used as written evidence in legal proceedings.
Affirm To make a legally binding promise that the contents of a document are true.
Affirmation An affirmation is a verbal, solemn and formal declaration, with the same effect as an oath.
Agent A person who acts on behalf of another person.
Appointee A person who acceps the legal authority to act on another's behalf.
Attest To bear witness to, affirm the authenticity of, certify, or ask a person to make an oath or affirmation.
Attest or witness the execution of a document Sign a legal document to verify that it has been completed according to law in your presence.
Attest or witness a signature Sign a document to certify that it was signed by another person in your presence.
Attorney A person appointed to make financial, legal or personal decisions for another person by a power of attorney.
Authorised person/witness A person authorised under the Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018 to witness statutory declarations and affidavits and to certify documents.
Capacity (or legal capacity) The ability of a person to reason things out. They can understand, retain, believe, evaluate (that is, process) and weigh up relevant information.
Commissioners for Taking Affidavits This role was a feature of the Evidence Act 1958 and is no longer a function under Victorian legislation.
Declarant A person who makes a statutory declaration.
Deponent A person who makes an affidavit (or deposition).
Donor A person who gives (donates) decision-making power to another person by a Power of Attorney or another form of appointment.
Enduring In a Power of Attorney, the power continues (endures) even if the person giving it loses the capacity to make decisions.
Execute To validate a legal instrument by signing it.
Exhibits Attachments to affidavits or statutory declarations.
Honorary justices The collective name for justices of the peace and bail justices, both of whom are administered, in Victoria, by the Honorary Justice Services Support.
Instrument Legal document such as a will, a mortgage or power of attorney.
Jurat The certification at the end of an affidavit stating when and where the affidavit was sworn or affirmed, and by whom. This is followed by the signature, address, and title of the person before whom the affidavit was sworn or affirmed.
Notary Public

A person who may witness overseas documents, particularly those for use in non-Commonwealth countries (may be likened to an international JP).

Notaries are senior Australian lawyers who can authenticate, prepare, attest, witness and certify legal documents for use overseas. They certify documents originating in Australia and verify their validity under Australian law.
Oath An oath is a solemn promise made in the name of a god recognised by the person's religion, whether made while holding a religious book or not.
Penalty Unit Used in Victorian legislation to describe the amount of a fine. They change on 1 July each year. For example, from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, the amount of a penalty unit is $184.92.
Power of Attorney A legal document in which a person (the principal) appoints another person, (the attorney), to make financial, legal, or personal decisions for the donor.
Principal A person who gives (donates) decision-making power to another person by a Power of Attorney or another form of appointment.
Revoke Withdraw or cancel.
Signatory Person who signs a document or declaration.
Statutory declaration A statutory declaration is a written statement, signed and declared to be true and correct before an authorised witness in the knowledge that it is an offence to make a statement, they know is untrue.
Witness In this handbook the word 'witness' is generally used in a shorthand way referring to attesting the execution of an instrument and to taking affidavits and statutory declarations. See definition of ‘attest’.